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5 Money - Handling Tips for Everyday Life

5 Money - Handling Tips for Everyday Life

| February 19, 2024

Just about everyone has mishandled money. The key is to learn from those missteps, do better, and continue to improve. 

If you struggle to save or you live paycheck-to-paycheck, you may not need more money. You likely just need to change your habits with money. 

Of course, it’s a lot easier to say than to do. But your financial issues didn’t just happen. They built over time, and you may never have sought answers about what to do. However, by taking one step and one day at a time, you can find yourself feeling less stressed and in control of your day-to-day finances. 

To help you get on track, here are five money-handling tips for everyday life. 

Track Your Spending 

Day to day, you may not know what you’re spending your money on or where you’re spending it. Changing your money habits is difficult, and keeping track of what, where, when, and how you’re spending money is one of the hardest new habits to adopt. 

But it’s necessary. To improve managing money, you have to be aware of what you’re spending. 

To help the new habit take hold, write down where you spend money and what you spend it on. Many banks categorize your debit card spending, and online apps are available to track your spending. But writing down your spending helps capture purchases by cash and credit card as well. 

Create a Realistic Budget 

Knowing you’ve wrestled with financial issues, you might look to develop a strict budget. You should resist that temptation and build a budget that gives you a better handle on your money but also gives you a better chance to stick to it. 

Once you’ve begun tracking your monthly spending, pull that information together with your monthly income and put a sustainable budget on paper or computer. 

If you’ve never budgeted, don’t worry. Here’s what to do — take all your income for a month, everything from your salary to a gift from a friend or parent to money from your side hustle, and list it. Do the same for your expenses — housing, transportation, groceries, utilities, and any other spending you’ve tracked. 

Subtract your expenses from your income. If you end up with zero or a positive number, you’re on your way. If you show a negative number, you’ll have to start looking for ways to cut your spending. 

Cut Recurring Charges 

Whether it’s streaming services, unread magazines, or a gym membership, sniff out recurring charges and cut them out of your budget. 

Certainly, you can watch television, read your favorite magazine, and work out. After all, you built a realistic budget. But these small recurring charges can add up to a significant monthly cost, taking money out of your budget that you could put to better use. 

Build an Emergency Fund, Save, and Invest 

You might believe you can’t put money aside when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. But going week after week, month after month, and year after year without an emergency fund or other savings could land you in an even deeper financial bind. 

You should set aside three to six times your monthly expenses for an emergency fund. But don’t let that scare you. Anything put away for an emergency is helpful, so start with a small goal of $500 and build from there. 

Similarly, you can start small to save for a house or retirement. Open and fund a savings account with as little as $5 per paycheck. If your employer offers a 401(k), enroll for automatic deductions from your pay. Find a brokerage, bank, or other financial institution without a minimum to open an individual retirement account. 

None of these require large sums of money but can build to significant amounts over time. Even one less coffee out or one less streaming service can help you develop the habit of saving and set you up for better financial stability. 

Avoid Paying With Credit and Pay Off Your Debt 

Buy what you need instead of what you want, and pay cash. Avoid using your credit card and the high-interest payment that comes with it. If you make charges, pay off the bill the next month. 

If you have a student loan or other debt, make at least your minimum payments each month, and pay off your debt, starting with the highest interest rate and working down. 

Seek Expert Help 

Handling your money for everyday life is about changing your habits with money. It won’t happen overnight, but you can do it by following these simple tips. 

If you find you need help tracking, cutting, budgeting, saving, or investing, you can turn to the financial professionals at Good Life Morehead City for help. A no-obligation discovery meeting gives you the chance to discuss your current financial situation along with your goals.