10 Essential Tips That Make Your Finances Lean & Manageable

by David Bakke

10 esssential tipsThe following is a guest post by Mark Brown. Mark writes about managing personal finances for Credit Card Compare, which is an Australian comparison website where consumers can apply for a credit card from a range of products including those offering cheap credit card balance transfer features as well as money saving cash back cards.

These days, it’s easy to find your finances getting out of control. The availability of credit cards, the number of utility bills and store accounts you must deal with, and rapidly evolving technological advancements in the ability to access and modify your investments can make managing your finances seem like a second job. Maybe that is the best way to look at your financial life. Properly handled, your finances may save you just as much you might earn at a second job, so why not treat it as such? And when it comes to this second job, there are certain things you may be able to do to make your work a bit more manageable.

1. Bundle/Combine Accounts

One of the best ways to slim down your finances these days is by bundling your bills. Whether combining your phone, cable, and internet through one provider or putting your family all on the same auto insurance policy or cell phone plan, there are few better ways of trimming the number of bills you receive each month than bundling and combining accounts.

2. Reduce Credit Cards

Typically, the more credit cards you have, the more likely you are to use them and the more difficult it will be to track your expenses when you do. Consider using one card for the majority of your purchases to make it easier to have a ready accounting of your monthly expenditures.

3. Bank Accounts

When you have a family, it can be surprising the number of bank accounts you might find yourself having to deal with. Individual savings and checking accounts for you and your spouse, a possible joint checking account, and savings accounts for your children can leave you with seven accounts or more that you must track. To make your life easier, consider reducing or consolidating certain, non-essential bank accounts.

4. Pay Off Debt

With retailers constantly pushing their store credit cards upon you, it’s easy to find yourself with a load of credit cards in your wallet and a pile of bills on your dining room table at the end of the month. Rather than just paying the minimum amounts and leaving the balance for later, try to pay off smaller amounts or accounts with higher interest rates first so that you have fewer accounts to track, fewer payments to make each month, and pay less in interest.

5. Payment Schedule

Once you have your monthly bills whittled down to a reasonable number, it can help you manage your finances by knowing when these bills arrive. Make an effort to track when regular bills for such items as utilities, your mortgage or car payment, and credit cards arrive. This will help take the sting out of their arrival and allow you to better plan for their timely payment.

6. Online Banking

Tired of driving to the bank each time you have to transfer money or deposit a paycheck? Doing the majority of your banking online can make your life much easier. Many banks now offer free services such as online transfers between accounts, direct deposit for your paychecks, and online bill pay. Online banking is also a fast and easy way to check and track your finances.

7. Financial Software

Utilizing financial software can be another excellent way to organize and manage your financial affairs. While the average person probably won’t need an overly complicated form of software to track their finances, and may find an Excel spreadsheet sufficient, there are plenty of advanced online budgeting and money management tools available online.

8. Shopping Sense

Reducing the number of times you go shopping can save you money by decreasing your temptation to buy. By making a shopping list before you go to the store, abiding by that list, clipping coupons, stocking up on sale items, and checking for store discounts, you can cut costs, decrease the number of payments you must make, and make your finances easier to manage.

9. Declutter Your Life

Organizing your financial affairs is not just about downsizing your finances directly. Sometimes getting rid of clutter in your home, office, and even your vehicle can coincide with keeping you better organized financially.

10. Utilize Your Local Library

While this tip may sound a bit old fashioned, you could be surprised at just how many resources are available at your local library. Books, magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, and internet connectivity – items we often pay money for at other places – are all typically available free from your library. Many libraries also seasonally carry a number of tax documents including forms, schedules, and instructions that can help you get organized around tax time.

Are there any other tips that make your financial life easier to handle? Please include them in your comments below

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news @ making money quick money » 10 Essential Tips That Make Your Finances Lean & Manageable
January 30, 2010 at 4:56 pm

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1 Sonali January 23, 2010 at 10:33 am

Great tips, especially the first five are common one, but the later five are truly great one. I would also support the use of Online Banking than the usual one cause it saves money and time too.

2 David Bakke January 23, 2010 at 10:46 am

Sonali,

Thanks so much for your kind words, I appreciate them. I agree with you about the online banking, its a great tool.

Hope to see you again soon.

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