Become financially fit in 9 steps
- Create a Budget
Developing a budget for planned expenditures based on your monthly income can really help you keep track of where your money goes. Be sure to make adjustments when things come up and try and stay away from credit cards to cover a shortfall or unnecessary purchases.
- Keep Track of Your Money and Purchases
Keep track of the money you are spending. Check out what purchases you’re making. Take a look at what areas you can cut back. By cutting back you can move your savings forward. Getting your coffee at a chain can run you $4/cup a day, which quickly adds up to be about $80/month.
- Put Savings in the Budget
Be sure to include your savings in your budget. Instead of thinking it as a savings think of it as you paying yourself. Acting like your savings account is a monthly bill can really help things add up.
- Emergency Savings
Keeping a minimum of six months of salary in your savings account is a nice rule of thumb. While this goal is one that doesn’t happen overnight, it’s important to have something set up for those unexpected emergencies.
- Plan ahead for Major Purchases
If you’re planning on a big purchase, review your budget to make it possible without breaking the bank or without having to rely on credit cards. An adjustment in your budget a few months ahead of time could mean the difference between paying cash and going into debt.
- Saving for Retirement
Saving for retirement can be a challenge but it doesn’t have to be. Take advantage of interest rates and market upturns by saving early. Also, many employers offer 401(k) plans to help employees save. Consumers has Financial Advisors available to help you in those decisions.
- Protect Your Credit
Checking your credit score once a year can really help you understand where your credit lies and how to help it if need be. Going to www.annualcreditreport.com allows you to pull your credit for free, once a year, from each bureau. Making sure your payments are on time has the most impact on your score, as will late pays and failure to pay. Report any credit problem to the reporting bureau. Lastly, be sure to use your credit wisely to ensure your reports are up to date.
- Get Tax Advice
Make sure you have a handle on your taxes especially if you are self-employed, own or rent/lease property. Seekng out a professional for tax questions can really benefit you.
- Keep your financial records
In the age of technology its not always easy to have those paper pay stubs around or receipts, but utilizing online tools as well as paper can help you maintain and organize documents important to your financial portfolio.
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