Your everyday money habits have a bigger impact on your financial success than you may realize. For some of you, this list is confirmation that you’re doing the right things. But, if there’s something here you’re not already doing, incorporate it to your regular financial routine right away.
Spend less than you earn. If you think about it, outspending your income isn’t going to work for very long. Eventually, you’ll run out of places to get extra money. When that happens, not only will you be forced to live in your income, you’ll also have to start paying back everything you borrowed to finance your
Pay your credit card balance in full each month. Unless your credit card currently has a 0% interest rate promotion, paying anything less than the minimum is costing you money. If you can’t afford to pay your balance in full each month, then you’re charging too much on your credit cards. Bring your credit card spending down to a level that you can afford to pay off every month.
Save part of your income – for retirement and for a rainy day. You need access to cash in case of an emergency; don’t assume you can rely on your credit cards. And, at some point, you’ll have to stop working whether by force or by choice. The future of social security is uncertain, so saving for retirement is important. This is one reason it’s so important to spend below your income, so that you have enough money to put towards savings each month.
Pay your bills on time each month. Late fees are expensive and completely avoidable. Having a regular bill paying schedule can keep you on track with your bills. Or, if you have trouble remembering to pay your bills, set them to autopay and follow up to confirm they were paid correctly.
Review your credit card and checking account statements for errors. Don’t take for granted that your statements are accurate, even if you balance looks correct. Review your statement thoroughly to catch errors. Let your creditor or bank know if you spot any transactions you didn’t make.
Check your credit reports at least once a year. Your credit is an important part of your financial life and thankfully, we have a right to view our credit reports for free each year. Visit annualcreditreport.com to access your free credit report. Review each account, looking for errors or signs of identity theft.
Create and follow a budget. A budget keeps you from spending too much and ensures you’re making all the best moves for your money. You can make your budget as restricting as you need depending on your income and your financial goals. You have complete control.
Review your spending periodically for areas to cut. Life changes and sometimes you no longer have a need or desire for the same services. Every few months, review your expenses to make sure the things you pay for are things you actually use.
No matter what your income, sound money habits will always be important to reaching your financial goals. If it seems like your financial progress has stalled, getting back to the basics might be necessary.