Organize Your Finances – 5 Steps to Success
A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO MEETING YOUR FINANCIAL GOALS
Spend less, save more and invest wisely
We can't help you make more money, but we can help you keep more money. With some careful planning and a few simple strategies, it's possible to spend less, save more and become financially successful.
Reaching long-term financial goals can seem almost impossible, but it can be done! And you don't need to make a fortune to make it happen. Spending a little less here and saving a little more there can really add up.
Let's say you started investing $100 a month when you were 30 years old. Based on average stock market returns, you'd have about $180,000 when you turned 60!1 But even if you're not ready to invest in stocks, you can use a lot of smart strategies to save money right now.
Tips for reaching your financing goals
- Set your financial goals.
Before you can organize your finances, it helps to know what you want to accomplish. Do you want to pay off debt? Save for college or a new car? Buy a new TV and home entertainment system?
Whatever your financial dreams are, a smart plan can make them come true. So figure out what your goals are and write them down in order of importance. Keep in mind that your financial goals can change, so review them every few months and adjust as needed.
- Keep track of your spending.
Like most people, you probably don't know where every dollar goes every month. But with a detailed worksheet, you can track every expense, from big things like rent and car payments to smaller purchases like clothes and coffees. You can use an old-fashioned pad of paper to list all your expenditures, or you can download all kinds of clever apps to help you keep track.
- Make a budget and stick to it.
Now that you know what your goals are and where your money's going, it's time to make a monthly budget. Get simple tips on how to make a budget, or search online to download budget planner apps.
- Pay your bills on time, every time.
Late payments can negatively affect your credit score, so stay on top of managing those bills! Keep them in a convenient place that you won't overlook, set up automatic payments if you can and schedule a bill-paying day once or twice a month.
- Take charge of your credit.
Before you accept a credit card or take out a loan, know what the interest rate is and what your monthly payments will be. Don't fall for offers that sound too good to be true, and avoid bad deals like “payday loans.” Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft and credit card fraud.
1Assumes an average rate of return of approximately 9% per year