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8 tips for keeping your finances in check

By Lena / October 14, 2012

8 Tips For Keeping Your Finances In Check

When you take charge of your personal finances, you are up against some tough obstacles. Smart money management is not taught in nearly as many schools as it used to be, and the world is full of companies that would love to see you make bad financial decisions. You can thwart their desires and retain full control of your money by following these simple tips.

1. There’s nothing wrong with paying in cash. You will find yourself being more cautious with your money when you can see and feel it. Use cash before you take out your debit card, and make your credit card your last resort.

2. Hold onto receipts. The effort required to build up complete financial records this way is actually very modest. Receipts can prove useful for up to a year following the purchases you make. They’ll also come in handy for the next tip.

3. Stay aware of your money. Balancing your checkbook is an art that has gone out of fashion thanks to electronic banking. Even if you do not go through the ritual, you should maintain the financial awareness it entails. Reconcile each purchase that appears on your bank account with your receipts, and address discrepancies immediately.

4. Hang onto financial statements. This ties into the second tip. Your bank is eager for you to go paperless. This saves the planet, but it also makes it harder for you to dispute financial mistakes. If you must forego paper statements, it’s a good idea to download and archive monthly statements from your bank website.

5. Budget! It’s easy to overspend if you’re not even sure how much money you have to work with. Reconcile your income with your monthly expenses, and get a good idea of how much is left over every month. Simply seeing this figure will make you more financially astute.

6. Save! No matter how modest your monthly surplus is, you can afford to put a little of it away in a savings account. Your savings will accumulate at a rate that will surprise you. Having money set aside can prove to be useful – even life-saving – in the event of unplanned expenses.

7. Shop with a list in your hand. Impulse purchases can be downright dangerous, and they’re all too easy to make if you rely on rough ideas when you’re out shopping. As long as you are buying multiple items, put them in writing. This will make it easier for you to resist temptations.

8. Indulge yourself reasonably. Once you have a good idea about your monthly surplus, you can set aside a bit of it for treating yourself. This is a sort of compromise that allows you to plan ahead for a little impulse buying. Leaving yourself some freedom will keep you from burning out on all of this financial responsibility.

These suggestions are just a starting point when it comes to managing your finances intelligently. If you make use of them, you will likely find yourself avoiding some common consumer pitfalls, like racking up debt and living beyond your means. You too can enjoy the security and peace of mind that come from sound money management!

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Lena

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