According to research, money is one of the most common sources of stress and anxiety for US adults. If you’re busy, it can be difficult to keep track of your finances and before you know it, weeks or even months have passed since you sat down and had a good look at the books. If you’d like to take better control of your money, this guide should come in handy.
Being aware of your financial situation
One of the most important things to do when you’re trying to manage your money more effectively is to keep tabs on what’s going on in your accounts. It’s so important to ensure that you’re aware of your financial situation. If you go for weeks without checking your balances, there’s not just a security risk. You also run the risk of having an inaccurate picture of how much money you’ve got and how much you’ve spent. It may not be the most fun activity of the day, but take a few seconds to log in and have a look at the numbers. You can use apps on your phone if you have a hectic lifestyle and you’re always on the go.
If you don’t already have a budget, taking a few minutes to draw one up each month could make your life a lot easier. Even with Internet banking, it can be tricky to keep up with how much you’re spending and having a budget can help you to save more and be more careful with your cash. You can use templates online or an app or stick to traditional spreadsheets or written records. Write down every payment you’re expecting to come into your account on one side and all your outgoings on the other. You can then add in any one-off payments or expenses you’re going to incur in the month ahead. Once you’ve got everything written down, this will give you an accurate idea of how much disposable income you have and how much you could save.
Putting money aside
If you have a little extra at the end of the month, it’s incredibly beneficial to set up a rainy day fund. The reality we face is that none of us know what is around the corner. Even if you’re fit and healthy and you’re earning a stable income now, things could change, and you may need that savings pot. Search for the best rates on savings accounts and set up a direct debit from your checking account each month.
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Spotting cash flow issues
There comes a time when most of us encounter cash flow issues. Perhaps you’re a bit short because you’re waiting for payment for a job you’ve done or you’ve had a more expensive month than usual, for example. The key to balancing the books lies in being able to spot potential issues and act quickly. If you know there’s going to be a shortfall, you can act before you start to incur penalties or you have companies chasing you for unpaid bills. If you need money, there are options out there. Title loans get you fast and easy cash with no credit check, but always be careful when borrowing money. Make sure you understand the terms of the agreement, read the small print, and ensure you know exactly how much you’re going to pay back each month. If you have savings put aside, it’s usually a better option to delve into this pot. You can always start saving again once you’ve bridged your cash flow gap. To avoid falling short, you could consider options like paying for expensive purchases over a period of time. If you’re taking a vacation, for example, you could pay a deposit followed by installments, rather than the full amount.
Some people are very diligent when it comes to budgeting and spending, but for others, dealing with money can be a much tougher task. If you’re not brilliant when it comes to accounting, or you tend to overspend without even realizing, it’s wise to seek advice from a financial expert. They can help you plan ahead, control your spending and identify ways to make your money work harder.
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Are you a little disorganized when it comes to money or do you wish you had a firmer handle on your finances? If you haven’t checked your accounts in a while or you’re always nearing the limit at the end of the month, it’s time to start taking control. It takes a few minutes to have a look at your accounts and work out a monthly budget. Being aware of your financial situation will help you save, but it will also reduce the risk of getting into debt and enable you to spot potential issues before they become a problem. If you’re not great with money or you’re worried about your finances, seek advice as soon as possible.