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Unless you have a large six figure income or higher and have a high net worth in personal assets, chances are you’re not satisfied with where you are financially. While getting a high paying job is certainly a step to get to a better place, being disciplined with your finances is also important. Staying disciplined with how you manage money can help you have more disposable income to use, help you stay away from or eliminate debt, and even invest for future life events. It’s never too late to start becoming disciplined with your money, but how should you do that? Here’s a few rules of thumb for doing so.
If Something Exceeds Your Weekly Or Monthly Take Home Pay, You Can’t Afford It
It would seem to be an obvious rule of thumb that you would only be able to buy or pay for expenses that are less than your weekly or monthly take home pay, but it can be easy to lose track of that by using debt or credit to buy what you really can’t afford. If you don’t get in the habit of keeping your expenses and credit card usage below your take home pay, you’ll usually not be able to keep your debt balances under control or pay them off. Keep the records of your weekly or bi-weekly paychecks, and also keep your receipts so you can see whether or not your expenses are staying within or exceeding your take home pay.
Only Bank With A Bank That Does Banking Your Way
Not all banks are the same, and if you’re feeling that your current bank has too many issues that make it harder to manage your money, it may be good idea to change banks. Not every bank has monthly checking account fees, and some may even have better savings rates. Maybe you’d like a bank that offers online services or an app that has the same kind of capabilities as the Western Union app. The bottom line is your personal financial goals can be reached a lot quicker if you go with a bank or credit card that understand your goals.
Apps Are Your Friends For Money Management
Sometimes you intend to keep track of your income and spending and make sure you stay within your budget, but every once in a while you make errors or forget to write things down. That’s why money management and budgeting apps that can integrate with your bank account or credit card are great tools to use for meeting goals. Some apps like the Western Union app even have options that allow you to pay bills and send money long distance whenever you need to. Most of these apps are free to use, though some transfer services they offer may have small fees.
Your Savings Account Should Be Your First Emergency Option
All too often when your car has to be repaired, a visit to the doctor is unavoidable, or you’re faced with a sudden legal cost, you may be tempted to borrow money or use your credit card to get through it. Yet it’s far better if you have money moved into your savings account during good times so that it will be enough to pay for things not covered by insurance. What you can do is have money transferred automatically from other accounts into savings and keep it there until you need to use it. You might be surprised at how $20 or $30 moved into savings every two weeks or even monthly could add up quickly and provide easy assistance.
If All Else Fails, Ditch Your Credit Cards
Sometimes reaching financial goals takes radical steps, and those could include completely eliminating debt. Now if you do decide to go without using credit cards, auto loans or other debt, you will not have a credit score, so you will want to keep track of things such as rent and utilities because you may need to present them later if you’re looking to get a mortgage. But by steering clear of credit cards completely, you won’t have the temptation to use up your credit line and run into debt traps.
These are just a few basic rules of thumb that can serve as financial guidelines, and to really start reaching your goals it’s good to take free courses on budgeting to get you more familiar with important saving concepts. But always be on the lookout for new apps and new ways to save and avoid unnecessary fees for banking or money transferring.