The first step to improving your personal finance strategy is understanding your current financing situation. It does not matter how much money you have, or don't have. Once you figure out that number you can pick a goal for more and achieve it.
How to get started...
Start by answering the following yes or no questions honestly and accurately. If you write the answers on a piece of paper, you can save them and check back in a month or two to see if the answers have changed. Start a notebook to help organize your personal finance tips.
- I accurately balance my checkbook each and every monthly.
- I know my monthly high and low budgets and I stick to them.
- I save 10% of my income each and every month.
- I know the difference between saving money and investing money.
- I have no consumer debt and I pay off the balance on my credit cards each and every month.
Did you answer yes to all five questions?
If yes, good job! Pat yourself on the back. What other good habits do you have in regards to money? Write those down in your notebook as well.
Did you answered no to any or all of the questions?
No big deal. Just something new to learn, right? Many people do not balance their checkbooks. They rely on the bank to be accurate and honest or they close their account each year and start over.
What are the benefits of keeping accurate records and balancing your checkbook?
You can use the information to track your monthly income and expenses. Also, you are less likely to be overdrawn because you will know which checks have cleared the bank and which are still pending. Calling the bank to see how much money is in your account is not an accurate assessment if you have outstanding checks waiting to clear. Checkbooks can be balanced manually or with accounting software such as Quicken for PC or Quicken for Mac.
Personal Finance Tip
Know how much money you have by balancing your checkbook monthly.
Where can I save my money?
Online savings accounts pay higher interest than conventional bank accounts because they do not have the costs associated with infrastructure of conventional banks. ING DIRECT pays more on personal savings accounts.
Personal Finance Tip
Save money monthly by setting up an automatic transfer to your online savings account.