sure your financial information and records are organized. Knowing
where important financial information is located and having a system
for paying your monthly bills will save time and aggravation.
direct deposit for your paycheck. This saves time and gets you money
working for you faster. It is also safer.
automated savings plans to save for near term purchases and long term
financial goals. This involves having your financial institution or
your employer transfer a set amount each month into your savings account
to be available for a vacation or a major purchase. It also includes
participating in your employer's retirement plan to save for your
a household spending worksheet. The process of preparing your first
one will help you identify potential areas for reducing expenses.
Analyzing your spending on a regular basis (perhaps annually) will
help you monitor your spending and develop savings habits.
Your Monthly Spending
a personal balance sheet periodically. Having a current, or relatively
current, personal balance sheet can be handy when you are considering
applying for a loan. Over time, you will be able to monitor your progress
toward your long term financial goals.
a Personal Balance Sheet
your checking account monthly. This avoids bouncing checks and fees
that may be charged if your balance is too low. It is much easier
to do this every month than to skip a month or two and then have to
deal with multiple statements.
all your bills and statements as soon as you receive them. Even if
you are not going to pay the bills immediately when you receive them,
by reviewing your bills and statements you can identify and correct
credit card payments promptly and pay more than the minimum. Avoid
late payment fees and reduce the amount of interest you may owe on
unpaid balances by making sure your payments arrive before the due
date. Paying only the minimum will cost you more interest and it will
take much longer to pay off the balance.
More Than the Credit Card Minimum
sensitive to fees. Some fees cannot be avoided, but choosing to walk
an extra block to use an ATM that does not charge a fee instead of
using an ATM outside your network can be worth the effort. Also, be
sure to understand any fees that may be charged on your checking or
savings accounts based on minimum balances or excess transactions.
There is no sense in paying fees if you do not have to.
more about handling your finances. The more you know, the easier handling
your finances will seem. Try to read the personal finance columns
in newspapers or perhaps even subscribe to a personal finance magazine.