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SMART Ways to Manage Your Money

By David S. Chang

Make More Money

When payday comes along, it’s easy to get excited about spending your money. Splurging on a few items of clothing or the latest home gadget will definitely bring you short-term enjoyment but probably won’t help your long-term finances. To ensure you are prepared for the future, it’s important to manage your money correctly and put a little aside each month for any unexpected circumstances. Money management involves a lot more than merely paying your bills on time, it also means you are maximizing each dollar.

Create a Budget

The most crucial tool in money management is an active budget. The only way to be organized when it comes to your finances is to know exactly what your expenses are. Then you can determine where you can cut back on. Creating a budget alone isn’t enough, however. You also need to ensure that you stick to it.

Creating a spending plan each month will ensure you have enough money for the things that are important to you; it will help you keep out of debt and help you build a healthy savings nest egg along the way. The goal for your budget is to allocate every dollar you bring in. Don’t want the hassle of tracking each dollar? You can allocate by percentage:

  • 10% Tithe/Charitable Giving
  • 10% Long-Term Savings
  • 10% Short/Mid-Term Savings
  • 70% Regular expenses

When looking for ways to save, your goal should be to first take it from regular expenses. So you are not tempted to take from your savings and investment allocation, have the amount taken out of your account or paycheck automatically. This way you won’t see it or have the temptation to spend it.

Pay Yourself First

Yes, covering bills and buying food is essential when you get paid, but the most important person to pay first is yourself. Your circumstances will never change, and you will not be able to grow if you do not make investing in yourself a priority.

Set aside a portion of your income and put it into a savings account every month; this can help you build tremendous wealth over time and it will be increasingly satisfying to watch it grow.

Comparison Shopping

When purchasing products that you need, take some time to comparison shop, especially for big-ticket items. There are plenty of websites you can use to compare prices. Remember that time is money and the one thing you cannot get more of. Don’t waste significant chunks of time trying to save a few cents.

If you’re searching for a new financial deal, whether it be an insurance policy, a loan or a credit card, it’s important to consider all your options and the best deal for you. You need to concentrate on low-interest rates and any rewards you may be able to gain if you do need to take out a new loan or credit card. Websites like www.finty.com offer a comparison service for available rewards.

Make Debt Payment Your Priority

If you have taken out a loan in the past through necessity or have an outstanding credit card bill, you need to focus on paying down your debt. Don’t just pay the minimum. Check the interest rates of your loans and credit cards and utilize the snowball method or the high-interest debt reduction method to pay it down. Read more about the methods here.

Until your credit card and personal loan debts are paid off, any extra money you earn should be used to pay off any outstanding debts as soon as possible. The interest that you will save over the long-run will more than make-up for it.

Balance Your Disposable Income

It’s tempting to purchase the items with easy loans and credit. In the long run, however, it will be more of a reward if you remain patient and instead save to purchase an item outright. If an emergency, tap into your emergency fund. This is so you don’t get further into debt.

Make sure you cover all bills and credit card debt that requires payment. If you miss a month or two, it can be extremely difficult to get back on track. Write down the dates when any direct debits will be leaving your account and make sure you have the necessary funds available. An unplanned overdraft can be costly and daily fines can stack up.

It’s also important to spend a percentage of your income on the things you love because what’s the point of working so hard in the first place if you can’t enjoy it? Take time to socialize with friends, spend an afternoon indulging in what you desire. Life is all about balance and you need to make sure you allocate an amount of your monthly income for fun and social events, but it is always wise to set a budget.

If you calculate how much you have available, your spending allowance won’t have a limitation and you’ll end up eating into savings and funds reserved for bills. Do not start spending until you have a figure in place. This will allow you to enjoy the month without feeling guilty or reckless.

David S. Chang

Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Wealth Manager and CEO | Chief Editor, Author, Keynote Speaker, Consultant ArtofThinkingSmart.com | Political Consultant | Army Officer National Guard | Living To Fulfill Needs, Solve Problems, and Live Passionately!

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