Get the Most from Your Budget

Payday loans are a convenient way to get through financial setbacks every once in a while. You might also be interested in how to prevent and plan for such setbacks in the future, so you're not always living paycheck-to-paycheck. Below are a few common-sense money management tips that can help you live within your means and boost your wealth.

  1. Set goals
    Smart money management requires that you have a plan, and you can't make a plan without goals. Think of some financial goals you'd like to reach, both short-term and long-term. Make sure your goals are SMART--specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Perhaps you'd like to start a savings account so you have a buffer for unexpected expenses. Maybe you want to pay off one of your credit cards. What you decide is up to you, but set goals you'd like to achieve, write them down, and stick to them.
     
  2. Take stock of what you have
    To know how to spend within your limits, you must first know what those limits are. Add up bank balances, cash advances available on credit cards, any rainy-day funds you might have around the house, and the cash you carry in your wallet or purse. Next, calculate the value of any assets you may have, like a car, house or other real estate, and any valuable possessions (jewelry, collector's items, etc.). Add these up to see your total worth, which may help you set a goal to improve your net worth in the long-term.
     
  3. Keep track of your income
    Keeping tabs on your income entails a little more than just knowing your weekly take-home pay. This number is not inclusive because it omits missed days of work, as well as additional income from things like holiday pay or overtime. The most accurate way to tabulate your income is to add up at least a month's worth of pay stubs and divide to figure out your real weekly earning power. Your weekly income can help you define your limits each week with a budget.
     
  4. Monitor your spending
    Money management can be simplified into two tiers--your financial offense and your financial defense. We've covered offense--that involves producing and tracking income that is sufficient to support your lifestyle. Your fiscal defense, how fast and in what ways money leaves your hands, is equally important, if not more so. This is where tracking your spending comes in. For one month, track everything you spend, down to the cent. Keep a notebook with you to tabulate expenses or save receipts and keep track on your computer with a program like Excel. Include the amount of the purchase, whom you paid, and the date. Try not to adjust your spending habits as a result of tracking them--this exercise is intended to show you where your money normally goes.
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