1. Write out a budget.
This one should be obvious honestly, and I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before. You need to know where your money will be going every week or month.
When you’re setting up your budget include your normal big expenses such as rent/mortgage, car payment, and utilities. But, don’t forget to include small expenses like coffee and lunch, car washes or haircuts.
A great way to set up your budget and track your spending is a free app like Mint. I’ve been using it for years now.
2. Check your balance often.
Check it every day even. This is vital in getting a clear picture of how and where you spend. And it also makes it easier to spot any unauthorized spending.
3. Plan for annual expenses.
You know that you must pay for new tags on your car every year, or spend money on Christmas gifts or Birthdays. So why not start setting aside money for those things now?
I suggest taking the amount you need to spend on something and dividing it by 12. Then you will know how much you need to set aside every month.
4. Research large purchases.
Shopping around could mean saving hundreds or even thousands. If the cost is over $50 I shop around and compare prices first. Buying a new computer, going on vacation or purchasing a car? Spend some time looking around online and comparing prices.
5. Set reminders for bills.
Don’t pay late fees! Set up reminders on your phone or computer for when bills are due. I like to use my iPhone’s Reminders app for this. I set them up to reoccur every month and have it set to remind me the day before a bill is due.
It’s never too late to start making good choices over bad ones. What are some of your good financial habits? What about your bad ones? Tips for other readers? Please share in the comments below.