With the economy the way it is right now, keeping excellent track of your finances is vitally important. If you are not on time paying your credit card bill, the late fee is only going to add to the balance. If you don't get that deposit in the bank on time, you are going to be facing potential overdraft fees. If you don't plan ahead for emergencies, you are going to be facing choosing between groceries or buying the fridge to store them in. How can you keep ahead of the game and keep your finances organized? Here are five tips:
Keep track. Document what is going in and what is going out. Too often, bounced checks, etc. occur because you thought the money was there. Don't assume, know. Most banks have the ability to track these things online. Take advantage of that. You can keep a notebook, a spreadsheet or use any of the myriad of software programs out there to assist you in keeping track of your spending and income.
Be conservative. Cut back on spending where you can, research for the best price and wait for sales. For instance, say you need a new computer. Find the store that is offering no interest for 18 months rather than just going out and purchasing from the store you "always" do. Brand loyalty can have a negative impact on frugality!
Follow through. Many times you can save money by submitting rebates, using coupons or discount cards and more. But you have to follow through. Get a small accordion envelope to keep receipts/rebate offers in and schedule time to go through and complete the requirements- be it once a month, once a week- whatever works for you. You may think you got a good deal but you didn't if you don't follow through and get that rebate money back.
Develop a budget. After you have started keeping track (point #1)you will have a much better idea of where your money is coming from and where it is going. Then you can set up a realistic and workable budget for your family (that should include a savings plan). Just like the keeping track aspect there are many different methods of budgeting. Find the one that works for you and...
Stick to your budget. All the budgeting preparation in the world won't help your family's financial situation if you don't follow the budget. For example, it is nearing the end of the month and my son joined a Lego NXT club. The dues come out of the miscellaneous portion of our budget. If I wrote a check for the whole amount we would go over for this month. So I talked to the leader and asked if we could pay 1/2 his dues this month and half next month. She is fine with that and my budget remains intact. Don't spend impulsively. Check your budget and make sure you have the money to spend before spending it.
Organizing your finances may be something you haven't thought of before but it can really go a long way in making your financial forecast look up!
Posted by Melissa of Multitasking Mama