Managing your money helps you pay bills on time and build great credit. It also can help you avoid scams that prey on people with messy finances. Manage your money better by following these easy tips.
- Make a budget: Map out your housing, food, transportation, health and other expenses. Add up your total monthly expenses. Record your monthly income, and then subtract your expenses form your income. If you’re not happy with the number, figure out where you can make cuts. Once you create a target budget, figure out actions you can take to stick to it, and record your expenses. You can find an online budget spreadsheet here, or create one from scratch by hand or in an excel spreadsheet. Remember, you’ll need to set aside money from every paycheck to cover must-pay bills like rent and student loans.
- Create a bill payment calendar. In the hustle and bustle of life, sometimes payment deadlines can sneak up on you. But paying bills on time helps you build good credit and keeps you from frittering away money on late fees and interest. Create an electronic calendar that reminds you when bills are due.
- Set up electronic payments with your bank for bills that have fixed (the amount is the same from month-to-month) payments.
- Set up electronic notifications from your bank. These can alert you to withdrawals over a certain amount or notify you if your balance drops below a set amount.
- Set a goal and figure out a plan to make it happen. What tools and resources do you need to accomplish it? How much do you need to save a week? When do you hope to achieve your goal by? Some examples could include going on vacation, purchasing a car, retirement, saving up for an emergency or furthering your education.
- Ask yourself, “If I had an emergency today, would I be financially secure?" For instance, if your car broke down today, would you have the funds to cover it and still have money saved up? If not, revisit your monthly budget, and figure out where you can make cuts and adjustments.