Four Tips for Managing Your Money
In an ever-changing financial world, your finances are a major factor regarding the quality of your life. At times money matters are taken for granted, but realistically, they should be on the forefront of all of your decision-making. Here are four tips that will ensure your financial success.
#1 Get Organized
When managing your money, you must know your available balancesat all times. In the event you bank online, request your bank account balances as well as you credit card balances through secured online access. Review your credit card annual interest rates and any applicable fees. Review the terms and conditions of your account. If you have additional debt, including student loans, auto loans, mortgages, or personal loans, factor those payments in as well.
#2 Keep Track of Income and Expenses
When you begin managing your money, you will need to know what comes in as well as your outgoing expenses. Traditional methods are time consuming and require attention to detail. In a fast-paced digital world, you can use the online financial service Mint.com to pull all of your accounts into one easy format. This free service allows you to monitor daily expenditures through a web interface or on your mobile device.
Managing your money means nothing unless you have accountability actions in place. When a budget is set, follow your budget as well as you can. Reduce impulse shopping by factoring in purchases into your budget ahead of time. The process of accountability is simply to have checks and balances in order to keep you honest and living within your means.
Where do you want to be financially in five years? 10 years? 20 years? The only way to achieve your financial goals through managing your money is to set realistic goals. When setting goals, make sure they are SMART: smart, manageable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. SMART goals are achievable goals and have clearly defined language and a target end date. For example "I have 3 months of expenses in a savings account by February 2013." Keep your goals list handy and refer to it often - this will help you put your overall routine into perspective.