Usually the end of the year can be a reflection period when it comes to our personal finances. We take a look at what we have in the bank account, how much debt we have, and wish we could have done things different. There can always be improvement and it is never too late to start.
Set Up Payment Dates
With so many payment due dates between the mortgage, loan, utilities, phones, and credit cards, it can be overwhelming to keep track of the payment due dates and when to make payments to ensure you have sufficient funds, with enough money left over for everyday expenses such as food and gas. If you are paid bi-weekly, for example, try to evenly distribute expense payments between the paycheck dates, setting up automatic payments for the best payment dates. As long as you do not pay late (mortgage and car lease usually have grace periods), paying on or before the due date that spreads out available funds may work better instead of say paying all in the beginning and not having much left for the remainder of the month.
Direct Deposit to Savings Account
If you set aside money for yourself automatically, there will be less temptation to spend it on unnecessary items and prepare yourself for financial success in the future. Setting up a payroll direct deposit to a savings account will be a great way to contribute every paycheck, building up that much needed emergency fund in case a large unexpected expense were to occur.
Monitor Every Dollar Spent
As you are working on getting your finances in order, one thing that needs to be a way of the past is careless spending. It is time to get out the bank and credit card statements and monitor every dollar that goes out. Take a look over the course of a month what the spending was, see if you can separate what was a monthly bill, and what was spending money.
Follow a Household Budget
Now that spending is under a microscope it should open up your eyes just how much money is going out the window every month and it is time to lock up the wallet. Start allocating funds to needed monthly expenses such as utility bills, mortgage, car lease, and necessary spending on grocery shopping and gas, while still contributing to a savings account. This should hopefully keep a tighter budget within the household and limit spending to necessary items. Be sure to still budget for fun, as that does not have to end entirely, just have to be smarter about spending without sacrificing your future.
Keep Track of Documents
As you are about to find out as tax season approaches in April, if you haven’t already started piecing together to prep your upcoming return to see if you are getting a refund, it takes time to gather up all of the documents. Compiling in a folder on your computer, or even printing out and storing in a file cabinet, keeping important documents such as W-2’s, student loan interest forms, mortgage loan interest statement, charity deductions, etc. in an easily accessible place will help when it is time to file.