This is a guest post by Joseph Green – a professional internet marketing analyst at Strategic Capital. He believes in providing the best and suitable financial advice, has vast experience in various financial sectors and specializes in structured settlements. He keeps writing about helpful and practical financial solutions.
They say that money is the root of all evil and that money cannot buy you happiness.
These things may or may not be true, but for most people in the modern world certainly NOT having money brings with it a lot of difficult times and sadness. And, for people on a limited income (which means 98% of the country), making the most of what limited funds one has is paramount.
If money is a concern in your world then it is important that you take control of your finances instead of letting a lack of money control you. Empower yourself with the following money management steps:
How to Manage Your Money Wisely
1. Smooth out your personal income.
As you work to better manage your money, you need to identify issues in your money management and take steps to fix the problems.
First, record your daily spending every day for two weeks.
Take notes, save your receipts, and look at where your money goes. You may find some surprises. Perhaps you didn’t realize how much money you were really spending by eating out so often. Or maybe your car is costing more in repairs than you realized. Record expenses for a while and you will have a better idea of what is really happening.
Second, create a budget.
You can use a pad of paper and a pen, or spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, but the important thing is that you do it. Write down all of your fixed expenses (such as rent or mortgage, insurance, transportation, etc.) and then variable expenses (like groceries, eating out, entertainment, gifts). Decide, based on your income and needs, how much money to alot to each area every paycheck.
Third, make use of software or a careful system to track expenses and keep you on budget.
Mint.com has an app that some people really like. You can also check out Good Budget and Mvelopes, both excellent budget tracking apps for your iPhone or Android phone to manage your money.
2. Figure out the timing of your bills.
If money is really tight then figure out the timing of every one of your bills. Then, create a chart where you list out how much you get each paycheck and what bills you will pay with that check.
Pay all of your bills before you spend anything extra (like to eat out or for entertainment). Remember that many companies will tack on late fees of $25 or more if you are late, so it is important to pay these on time.
3. Use credit wisely.
Avoid building up a balance on your credit cards; strive to always pay cash or use your debit card to manage your money better.
If you do use a credit card, use it only for large purchases; resist the urge to charge gas, food, and vacations – you don’t want to be paying these things off for years, at high interest rates.
4. Build a buffer for lean times.
It is important to always have a savings built up. Some financial managers recommend that you save at least six to nine months’ worth of pay.
At the very least think about the most expensive thing that could happen in your world (A new roof? A broken down car?) and ensure that you always have enough cash on hand to deal with that problem.
5. Turn your talent into money to bolster your income.
The online world has opened up many avenues for making money online. If you like writing check out sites like UpWork, PeoplePerHour, Guru and Freelancer. Or, during the summer or holidays get a seasonal job to earn some extra cash.
Related: Top Earning Side Jobs
6. Start by saving a little bit at time.
The most important thing is that you save something. If this is difficult, then at least develop a habit of saving, saving just a bit at a time.
Set up direct transfers where just $5 a paycheck is directly moved into your savings or an IRA account. After a few months when you aren’t missing the $5, up it to $10. Keep on increasing it. Eventually, you should be putting 15-30% of your money away for savings and retirement.
Benjamin Franklin once famously said that a penny saved is a penny earned. He meant that carefully spending your money and being deliberate in your financial choices is just as important as earning more money.
With careful planning and remembering the tips above, you can follow Ben’s advice and make the most of your money, managing it like a boss!
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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