Being good with money is about more than just making ends meet. Don’t worry that you’re not a math whiz; great math skills aren’t really necessary – you just need to know basic addition and subtraction.
How To Manage Your Money Better
- Have a budget: Many people don’t budget because they don’t want to go through what they think will be a boring process of listing out expenses, adding up numbers, and making sure everything lines up. If you’re bad with money, you don’t have room for excuses with budgeting
- Use the budget: Your budget is useless if you make it then let it collect dust in a folder tucked away in your bookshelf or file cabinet. Refer to it often.
- Give yourself a limit for unbudgeted spending: A critical part of your budget is the net income or the amount of money left after you subtract your expenses from your income. If you have any money left over, you can use it for fun and entertainment, but only up to a certain amount.
- Track your spending: Small purchases here and there add up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve overspent your budget. Start tracking your spending.
- Don’t commit to any new recurring monthly bills: Just because your income and credit qualify you for a certain loan, doesn’t mean you should take it. Many people naively think the bank wouldn’t approve them for a credit card or loan they can’t afford.
- Make sure you’re paying the best prices: You can make the most of your money comparison shopping, ensuring that you’re paying the lowest prices for products and services. Look for discounts, coupons, and cheaper alternatives whenever you can.
- Save up for big purchases: The ability to delay gratification will go a long way in helping you be better with money. When you put off large purchases, rather than sacrificing more important essentials or putting the purchase on a credit card, you give yourself time to evaluate whether the purchase is necessary and even more time to compare prices. By saving up rather than using credit.
- Limit your credit card purchases: Credit cards are a bad spender’s worst enemy. When you run out of cash, you simply turn to your credit cards without considering whether you can afford to pay the balance.
- Contribute to savings regularly: Depositing money into a savings account each month can help you build healthy financial habits. You can even set it up so the money is automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account.
- Being good with money takes practice: In the beginning, you may not be used to planning ahead and putting off purchases until you can afford them. The more you make these habits part of your daily life, the easier it is to manage your money, and the better off your finances will be.
5 steps to get you started on creating a budget
- Do a monthly review of your income, expenses and investments.
- Understand your spending and saving habits.
- Set up expense guardrails
- Set your financial goals.
- Track, monitor and adjust your budget as needed.