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what is the best way to manage my fnances?

financial management tips

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Kristina’s Answer

Hello,

Mastering your financial management is a key step towards financial freedom and realizing your financial dreams. Here are some empowering strategies for successful financial management:

1. Establish a budget: Begin by monitoring your earnings and outgoings to gain insight into your money flow. Next, formulate a practical budget that distributes funds towards necessary costs, savings, and leisure spending.

2. Define financial objectives: Articulate your short-term and long-term financial aspirations, such as purchasing a home, launching a business, or taking early retirement. Possessing distinct objectives fuels your motivation to save and make educated financial choices.

3. Monitor and assess your expenditures: Consistently evaluate your expenditures to pinpoint areas where you can minimize spending. Utilize personal finance tools or spreadsheets to effectively classify and scrutinize your expenses.
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Kim’s Answer

Maya,

To begin, you need to know your income and expenses. I split the expenses into two parts - fixed and variable. Fixed would be things like a car payment. Variable would include fuel, groceries, entertainment, etc.

Look for ways to reduce or otherwise make your expenses more manageable. This would be things like paying off credit cards, transferring credit cards to a lower rate card, etc. Making expenses more manageable could include looking into ways to pay the same amount for utilities year around. Here in Texas, our AC bills are crazy high! Some utility companies let you pay an average, so your spring and fall bills are higher, and summer bills lower - consistency makes it easier to work a budget!

You need to figure out where your variable expense money is going. For example, if you spend $100 for "groceries," and really look at what you bought, you might find that $40 went to paper products (TP, paper towels, paper plates), cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. Looking for ways to cut food costs might not help lower this bill all that much! Also look at the impulse buying. If you go to buy windshield wiper blades and buy a candy bar at the checkout. . . it adds up!

Taking it to the next step. Have a talk with yourself about "wants" and "needs." You "need" dependable transportation. You "want" the $50,000 sports car. You need a haircut. That can range from $10 to $80, or more.

A word about insurances. There are two things you need in order to stay gainfully employed: good health, and dependable transportation. Take care of yourself, and your car. An insurance that's rarely talked about is "disability insurance." It pays part of your salary (60% or so) if you are unable to work for an extended period of time. As young people , we think we don't need this. Anything can happen to anyone at any time. We can't control the other drivers on the road! Also, a good , term, life insurance policy is pretty inexpensive while young and healthy.

"Unexpected emergency expenses" - there's really no such thing. Cars break down. People get sick. Water pipes break. People lose their jobs. Plan for the unexpected! The advice varies, but, start working on saving up to be able to cover 3-6 months of your living expenses. The nice thing about this fund is it allows you to borrow from yourself, so you don't have to put it on credit cards. Of course, since it's "borrowed" you pay yourself back.

This is the beginning. Then you want to start thinking about various goals as Kristina mentioned. You may create separate accounts so that you don't lose sight of your goals. For example, if you are saving for a home, you don't want that money co-mingled with your emergency fund.

Investments are a must. Inflation eats away at the purchase power of your money. If your employer offers a "401 match" you want to invest at least the max amount that they are willing to match. How to pick your funds is complex. You can be more aggressive at a younger age, but if you don't have high tolerance for risk you want to scale back. Don't gamble with the money you are saving for a house - put it in a CD or something safe.

If another person enters your life, that complicates everything! That's one of the biggest issues facing many couples -money management. Make sure you have a shared philosophy about money before making that commitment.

Finally, a word about pets. Veterinary care is crazy expensive. Please give careful consideration to the requirements of being a good pet parent before adopting an animal. They can and do get sick, they age faster than us, etc. While there is pet insurance available, and, I do recommend it, the premiums increase considerably year to year, at least from what I have seen.

I hope this isn't overwhelming - there's just so much we wish we had been told when we were starting out in life - we want to share it all!

Let me know if you have any questions

Kim
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deborah’s Answer

Excellent question Maya! A budget is central to managing finances and achieving financial goals (net worth).

One important concept in the budgeting is to "pay yourself first" which is to commit to a % of budget to savings account (10% or more). You can even set up automatic transfer from checking to savings account each month. Make sure your debit card does not have access to savings account. Then, live within the remaining 90% budget. And, watch your savings grow.

As you experience big changes, or annually, evaluate and changing your budget.

You can also make it motivating by challenging your friends to a competition to set and keep to a budget.

If certain spending is tempting you, just remind yourself of the financial goal you have set and are committed to achieving.

Good luck!

deborah recommends the following next steps:

https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/finance/nerdwallet-budget-calculator
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Harry’s Answer

Hi Maya. A great question and all the answers are very good. I'd like to offer some additional pieces of advice.

1). There is a small paperback book titled "The Richest Man in Babylon" by George Clason. It sells used on eBay for about $5. It is written as a story, but the bottom line is that one should pay themselves first.

2). I suggest you buy either the book or audiobook on "The Buffettology Collection." It summarizes how Warren Buffett amassed his fortune.

3). The bottom line is slow but sure. There are no Get-Rich-Quick schemes that work.

4). Pay your bills on time, don't over-extend your finances more than you can pay. You will be amazed at how your new worth grows.

5). Remember the value of compounding.

Good luck Maya.
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Amanda’s Answer

Begin by establishing a budget and prioritizing savings. While it may not seem crucial at this moment, it is. Another beneficial step would be to consider investing in a house instead of renting one. Over time, the value of this house could potentially double or even triple, providing a significant boost to your financial security. Renting or leasing properties typically don't offer long-term benefits and won't generate income in the long haul. Moreover, it's more financially prudent to settle high-interest debts first and make monthly payments for items that don't accrue interest. If you have a rewards credit card, it can help build your credit score and offer cashback or other perks, provided you stick to your budget and clear the balance every month. However, if you're unable to pay off the balance each month, it's best to steer clear of credit cards. Remember, by seeking advice and contemplating your financial future now, you're already on the right path!
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Rebecca’s Answer

Thank you for your question. Many students have similar question.
Firstly, you have to distinguish below :
- What you need - This is something essential to you. E.g. your school fee payment, transport cost, meals, etc.
- What you want - This is something nice to have. E.g. jeweler, accessories, luxury bags or clothes, etc.
Divide your income or pocket monies into 3 parts :
a. Amount required for What you need
b. Saving
c. What you want - This is for the items which are in small amount. If you want something expensive, you may need to save more monies
Hope this helps! Good Luck!
May Almighty God bless you!
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Brook’s Answer

Hey! Managing your finances takes effort and can look different to everyone. The way I started out was by creating a budget of each category I spend money in (i.e., transportation, restaurants, groceries, activities, gifts, etc) and estimate how much you think you spend each month. This was very eye opening to me because I realized my perception of how I spend is very different than how I actually spend my money. You may have to tweak your budget for each category after seeing what may be more accurate (I did!). Every few weeks I list out all my expenses as opposed to just going through my credit card statement. This allows me to reflect on my purchases and see what categories were highest. Managing your finances calls for self-discipline and reflection but is important and even interesting. Your awareness of what you spend is vital!
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Ashish’s Answer

Maya, you've received some fantastic advice already, so I'll strive to provide fresh insights. One suggestion I'd like to add is to discover a reliable software or tool that can assist you in managing your finances, budget, accounts, and more. As you mature, these digital tools can become your personal financial advisors, helping you monitor your spending patterns, establish budgets, and even sending you alerts if you're exceeding your budget or if there are unusual activities. There's a plethora of free online tools available, so I'd encourage you to explore them and kick-start your journey from there. Best of luck!
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Steve’s Answer

I have plenty of opinions on this subject. I will share one that I consider key. Be careful with debt. It is a necessary thing sometimes, particularly when it is related to education. However, letting your credit cards get out of hand will result in lots of unnecessary interest payments and will potentially limit your ability to spend in the future. Live within your means when possible. It will pay dividends in the future!
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Boris’s Answer

Hello Maya, Mastering your financial management is a key stepping stone towards achieving your financial dreams and long-term aspirations. Here's an easy-to-follow guide to help you navigate your financial journey using the steps you've already outlined:

1. **Blueprint Your Future**: Kick-start your journey by setting crystal-clear financial goals. Whether it's building a nest egg for retirement, acquiring your dream home, or establishing an emergency fund, having a roadmap provides you with a sense of direction and motivation.

2. **Decipher Your Financial Picture**: Scrutinize your income and outgoings. Classify your expenditures to pinpoint areas where you can trim expenses and identify those that are absolutely essential.

3. **Harness Available Resources**: Leverage digital banking platforms and budgeting apps to monitor your monthly income and expenses. These tools can sort your transactions by category automatically, providing you with an instant snapshot of your financial wellbeing.

4. **Embrace Savings**: Make saving a cornerstone of your financial strategy. Strive to set aside a portion of your income regularly, even if it's a modest amount initially.

5. **Timely Credit Card Payments**: Dodge late fees and interest charges by settling your credit card bills promptly. Also, try to avoid excessive reliance on credit cards, as it can lead to mounting high-interest debt.

6. **Stay in the Loop**: Immerse yourself in books and articles to keep abreast of financial trends and opportunities. Knowledge is indeed power, and staying informed can empower you to make savvy financial decisions.

7. **Savor Life**: While financial discipline is important, don't forget to earmark funds for leisure and enjoyment. A balanced approach to expenditure and saving can lead to a more gratifying life.

Remember, financial management is a journey, not a destination. Regularly revisit and tweak your financial plan to ensure it keeps pace with your evolving needs and goals. Financial management isn't merely about curbing spending; it's about making educated choices that allow you to live life on your terms.

Best of luck!!
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Amy’s Answer

The most effective strategy for handling your money is to spend less than what you earn. It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing your lifestyle to your friends or people you see on social media, but it's important to resist this. By living within or even below your means, you can avoid the burden of credit card interest and additional charges that can drain your income.
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Sabrina’s Answer

Hello! All great advice above. I would echo that it's important to establish a budget and be aware of all of your expenses. I personally like to track everything I spend, so I can see costs every month. It's also helpful to limit unnecessary things, such as subscriptions you may not be using as much. These things can add up!
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Sean’s Answer

Mastering your money matters involves a blend of budgeting, saving, investing, and strategizing. Here are some empowering tips to kickstart your financial management journey:

1. **Craft a Budget**: Keep a keen eye on your income and outgoings to grasp where your cash is flowing. Utilize budgeting tools or apps to help you navigate your finances. Distribute money for necessities, savings, and discretionary spending.

2. **Establish an Emergency Fund**: Reserve 3-6 months' worth of living costs in a distinct savings account. This fund will be your safety net for unforeseen expenses, preventing you from falling into debt.

3. **Eradicate Debt**: Make it a priority to clear high-interest debt, such as credit card balances. Adopt strategies like the debt avalanche (tackling highest interest rate debt first) or the debt snowball (clearing smallest balances first) to keep your motivation high.

4. **Save and Invest Consistently**: Strive to save a minimum of 20% of your income. Contribute to retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA. Explore low-cost index funds or ETFs for long-term investment growth.

5. **Live Beneath Your Means**: Resist the temptation of lifestyle inflation as your income grows. Uphold a modest lifestyle to ensure you can save and invest more.

6. **Automate Your Finances**: Set up automatic transfers to savings and investment accounts. Automate bill payments to dodge late fees and guarantee timely payments.

7. **Track Your Financial Goals**: Set short-term and long-term financial ambitions, such as purchasing a home, saving for education, or retiring early. Regularly review and tweak your goals based on your financial standing.

8. **Educate Yourself**: Persistently enhance your financial literacy by reading books, enrolling in courses, and following trustworthy financial blogs and podcasts.

9. **Review Insurance Policies**: Make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage, including health, auto, home, and life insurance. Compare different providers for the best rates and coverage.

10. **Monitor Your Credit Score**: Regularly scrutinize your credit report for accuracy and keep an eye on your credit score. A strong credit score can help you secure better interest rates on loans and credit cards.

11. **Limit Unnecessary Expenses**: Identify and trim non-essential spending, such as dining out, subscriptions, and impulse purchases. Redirect these funds towards savings and investments.

12. **Plan for Taxes**: Get to grips with your tax obligations and make the most of tax-advantaged accounts and deductions. Consider seeking advice from a tax professional to optimize your tax strategy.

By adhering to these tips, you can construct a robust financial base and stride towards achieving your financial aspirations.
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Beckie’s Answer

Hi. What a great questions, and it is impressive that you are thinking about managing your finances at a young age.

There are some really straightforward steps to managing your finances.
1. Get some money coming in. You can get a job, mow lawns, help people clean homes, or many other things to earn money so find something that works for your interests and your situation.
2. Pay yourself first. (OK, after the tax man, but still.) Put some percentage of the money you earn into a savings account for emergencies. Do this before you go shopping or pay bills. Typically if you can do about 10% that is great. So if you earn $20, put $2 into a saving account that you are not going to touch.
3. Don't spend more than you make. This means don't open a credit card that you just have to pay back with interest. It ends up digging you into a hole that can be hard to dig out of. For example, if you borrow $20 and the interest rate is 15%, you actually have to pay back $23. The fewer loans and credit you have to more freedom you will have.
4. Live on budget or spending plan. The spending plan highlights how much money you have coming in and how much you are spending typically by week or by month. Knowing when you have bills to pay or events to spend on means you will not accidently spend more than you make. There are a lot of great resources on the internet for this.

Overall, managing your finances comes down to those straightforward ideas. Now, there is one more thing... the hardest part. You have to watch out because everyone from shoe companies to car companies, to grocery stores are really, really good at getting you to spend your money. You have to be very alert to emotional buying or impulse buying. It is often hard to say no to some item in the store window, So keep a list of your goals in your wallet. Then when you are tempted to spend, you can read your goals and that helps you say no.
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Terry’s Answer

This is simple. Establish a budget listing your income and necessary expenses to see if you are able to meet your lifestyle. If you cannot you need to either have a plan to increase your income or decrease your expense. Put this all in a spreadsheet and track each expense. Avoid getting into credit card debt. There is some excellent software to help you such as Quicken. But just an Excel spreadsheet works for most.
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Kim’s Answer

The first thing to think of is discipline. Whatever you make, use twenty percent for spending, thirty for bills, and fifty for savings. If you cant afford something, don't spend it. That being said, there are of course exceptions to every rule. Purchases such as a car or house are going to look at your credit score. Credit score is based on job stability, not missing a payment, and your income. To gain a good credit score means buy now, pay later with interest as opposed to using your debit card, which takes money directly out of your account. The trick is to use your credit card(s) wisely and budget that into the bills due (30%) that will come out of your checking account. Put needs before wants. If there is something you want, but you've already spent the 20% of your paycheck, make it a goal and save up for it. Don't take on too much debt and know your limits. Stick to a monthly budget and plan accordingly. Don't let the internet make you impulsive because something is convenient.
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Anthony’s Answer

Hello!
Please, note the following, concerning best financial management:-
1. Proper knowledge in finances, and financial management.
2. Diligence, Honesty and Faithfulness.
3. Transparency and Accountability at all times.
4. Absence of bribery and corruption at all times.
Best regards.
Thank you comment icon Hi Anthony, I feel like your first point around gaining financial knowledge is the hardest to achieve. Do you have any pointers on where someone can go to learn about finances? Gurpreet Lally, Admin
Thank you comment icon Gaining financial knowledge could be accessed through Google Search (online), for Accounting, Finance, Economics, etc., courses and programs. Anthony Kofi Hene-Amoah