You could win the Powerball jackpot and still end up broke simply because you did not manage your money well. You could also be earning a huge salary and find that most of the money’s gone before the month is out, leaving you strapped until the next paycheck (Allen Iverson almost knows about this – as do many others). That’s why it is good to be proactive and take control of your finances instead of asking yourself where the money went.
Here are 10 prudent tips to help you manage your personal finances effectively.
Set up separate bank accounts
You must set up a savings account and a checking account as soon as you land a job. Keeping your salary in these 2 accounts will ensure that you only spend the money from your checking account leaving the savings account intact for future goals.
Save first, spend later
Make sure that you have set up automatic withdrawal and deposit on the same day that you get paid. The deposit might go towards a retirement fund or an emergency fund. Do not miss out on the retirement plans offered by your employer (even the US military has TSP). What is important is to not wait until the end of the month to make that saving. Your spending budget should not take your entire income into account. Automatically moving a percentage of your income first will make sure that you can only access the spending money you have allocated in your budget.
Set up short and long-term financial goals
It is always best to set specific goals, for instance, do you want to buy a property when you reach a certain age? Do you have a clear idea of how much it will cost, even if it cannot be an exact figure as land and property prices can fluctuate? Then, count backwards to calculate the amount you will need to have on hand when that time comes and start saving. It will help to write your goals and the saving plan and place it where you can see it regularly.
Make a budget and stick to it. This is an important step to take if you wish to be in charge of your finances. When you list down your monthly expenses, you will find that it helps to know the bills that are to be paid routinely and the amount that is left over for saving, investing, or extra spending. This is vital when taxes and costs for goods are increasing because of new policies.
Monitor your spending
Once you know your monthly income and your budgeted amount for monthly bills, you will have a clear picture of how much money you can spend. This requires careful monitoring because it is way too easy to spend money thinking that you can just because you have paid all your bills. This will also help you see if there is an expense you can do without.
Live within your means
It is frugal living that fattens your bank balance. When you understand that you are not deprived of anything by living within your means, you will also realize that it is pretty easy to maintain a lifestyle that takes care of your needs without going overboard.
Set aside money for emergencies
Set aside some of your income each month towards emergencies. If there are no emergencies, you can be happy with the fact that you have saved a lump sum. If there is an emergency, you won’t have to panic and wonder where you will get the money from.
You would do well to keep abreast of the latest tax laws to make sure that you maximize your savings. Keeping yourself well informed of the stock market and following the financial news will allow you to find safe investment opportunities.
Go for the discounts
There is no shame in looking for discounts and taking advantage of the offers made by retailers. If possible, take a more direct approach and master negotiation skills by working with small businesses. It can be a win-win for the business and you. Buying in bulk could get you a discount just as much as a long term relationship with a vendor. The idea is to avoid wasteful spending.
Take care of your health and property
Health – The body can throw in a lot of surprises along the way. It is best to be self-aware and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Make sure that you schedule regular doctor appointments, including dental care. Eating right and exercising will also keep you away from avoidable health risks.
Property – Regular upkeep and careful handling of the things you own, big and small, can shave a lot of repair costs from your monthly expenses. This is a great habit to cultivate and will also teach you to value what you own.
Regardless of how much money there is to manage, these tips can help you stay on top of your spending and saving, and leave you financially secure.