Getting your family’s financial picture under control can have life changing effects. It can help to alleviate stress, make daily living more fun, and provide long term security, too. Taking the steps to get your finances under control can be a confusing process. In this article, we will discuss some tried and true tips that can get you on the right track.
Set up internet banking and online bill pay. Having your accounts and your bills online is a quick and easy way to see what you have paid and what you still need to pay, all in one quick and easy step. It takes very little time to pay and manage your bills when they are all in one safe place. You won’t lose track of things as easily.
Monitor your accounts for signs of identity theft. Purchases you don’t remember making or credit cards showing up that you don’t remember signing up for, could all be signs that someone is using your information. If there is any suspicious activity, make sure to report it to your bank for investigation.
When you make note of expenses in your check ledger, always round up your numbers to the next dollar. When you make a deposit, round down. In this way, you will build a little padding into your checking account to help you avoid overdrafts. When your “slush fund” has built up enough to help you eliminate monthly fees, continue deducting them anyway. They will be set aside in your checking account and will add to your savings.
Make sure to always pay yourself first. You should be putting at least 10% of your pre-tax income into a savings account. This is the money that is going to keep you from losing the house during an emergency. Do not skip on it and do not forget about it.
An income tax refund is not the most efficient way to save. If you get a large refund every year, you should probably lower the amount of withholding and invest the difference where it will earn some interest. If you lack the discipline to save regularly, start an automatic deduction from your paycheck or an automatic transfer to your savings account.
Create a calendar, and label it with your expected month payments and anything else related to your finances. Doing this will ensure that you make your payments in a timely manner, whether you receive a paper bill or not. This makes it a lot simpler and it will save you from a lot of late fees.
If you (or your spouse) has earned any type of income, you are eligible to be contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), and you need to be doing this right now. This is a great way to supplement any type of retirement plan that has limits in terms of investing.
Have an emergency savings cushion. Without one to fall back on, unexpected expenses unavoidably land on your credit card. Put away six to twelve months’ worth of living expenses into your emergency savings account so that if you have a huge medical expense or the car breaks down, you’ll be covered.
Maintaining good credit lets you buy the stuff that’s hard to buy with cash, such as a car or home. If you find that you can’t get a good interest rate for a big dream item, don’t just wish for a miracle. Fix your credit. Begin by reviewing your credit report and investigating any anomalies.
Have your bank account set up so that a portion of your income is automatically transferred to your savings account on a regular basis. This will put the money out of reach and out of your mind so that you won’t be tempted to spend it. You can decide how much you can afford, but make sure that the money is taken on the same day each month or each week.
Your family should have a strong financial picture if you want to be in control of your life. Getting your finances under control has a trickle down effect on every area of your life. As we have discussed in this article, getting started can feel confusing, but it doesn’t have to. If you follow the simple steps discussed here, your financial forecast will improve and your life will, too.