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Pro Tips for Managing Your Money The Right Way

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Being good with money is about more than just making ends meet. Don’t worry that you’re not a math whiz; great math skills aren’t really necessary you just need to know basic addition and subtraction.

Have a Budget

Many people don’t budget because they don’t want to go through what they think will be a boring process of listing out expenses, adding up numbers, and making sure everything lines up. If you’re bad with money, you don’t have room for excuses with budgeting. If all it takes to get your spending on track is a few hours working a budget each month, why wouldn’t you do it? Instead of focusing on the process of creating a budget, focus on the value that budgeting will bring to your life.

Using the Budget

Your budget is useless if you make it then let it collect dust in a folder tucked away in your bookshelf or file cabinet. Refer to it often throughout the month to help guide your spending decisions. Update it as you pay bills and spend on other monthly expenses. At any given time during the month, you should have an idea of how much money you’re able to spend, considering any expenses you have left to pay.

Give Yourself a Limit for Unbudgeted Spending

A critical part of your budget is the net income or the amount of money left after you subtract your expenses from your income. If you have any money left over, you can use it for fun and entertainment, but only up to a certain amount. You can’t go crazy with this money, especially if it’s not a lot of it has to last the entire month. Before you make any big purchases, make sure it won’t interfere with anything else you have planned.

Track Your Spendings

Small purchases here and there add up quickly, and before you know it, you’ve overspent your budget. Start tracking your spending to discover places where you may be unknowingly overspending. Save your receipts and write your purchases in a spending journal, categorizing them so you can identify areas where you have a hard time keeping your spending in check.

Don’t Commit to Any New Recurring Monthly Bills

Just because your income and credit qualify you for a certain loan, doesn’t mean you should take it. Many people naively think the bank wouldn’t approve them for a credit card or loan they can’t afford. The bank only knows your income, as you’ve reported, and the debt obligations included on your credit report, not any other obligations that could prevent you from making your payments on time. It’s up to you to decide whether a monthly payment is affordable based on your income and other monthly obligations.

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