Tag Archive for Money Management

12 Tips to Keep Your Finances in Check Each Month of the Year

12 Tips to Keep Your Finances in Check Each Month of the YearYour finances should be managed and reviewed each month of the year. This will keep your budget, investments, and savings, healthy and up-to-date.

Follow these 12 tips to keep your finances in check each month of the year.

January: Focus on Your Goals

With the start of a new year likely comes new financial aspirations. Review the goals you achieved in the previous year and make a point to set new financial goals for the coming one. Furthermore, be sure to evaluate where you stand with any long-term goals as well.

February: Tax Preparation

Tax season is on the horizon come February. In order to give yourself, and your tax preparer, plenty of time, use this month to gather all tax documents, review deductions, and begin preparing your finances to pay taxes.

March: Spring Cleaning

With subscriptions abundant, it can be difficult to keep track of everything you pay for. Come March, review all of your monthly and recurring subscriptions and clean house. Get rid of the unnecessary and only keep what you truly use.

April: Create Tax Folders

As taxes get sent in to the IRS, now is a great time to keep yourself organized for next year. Create appropriate folders, electronic or paper, and organize all documents and forms from this year so you?re not scrambling in the year to come.

May: Focus on Saving

Saving is a vital part of keeping yourself financially healthy. Commit at least one month to focus more on savings and less on spending. With the start of a new season, May is a great time to reign your finances in and replenish savings.

June: Review Your Credit Score

While you shouldn?t check this on a daily basis, you should keep track of your credit score. Set a specific month or so to check you score and ensure you?re still in good credit standing. If not, you can use this as a jumping off point to improve it.

July: Evaluate Debt

Although you should keep track of your debt regularly, take the opportunity in July to reevaluate what you still owe. See if you can consolidate any debt and possibly reorganize your debt priorities so you know you?re paying off the one with the highest interest first.

August: Review Your Budget

Your budget shouldn?t stay static. Use August to do a complete revaluation and ensure each category is still applicable and that the amounts in varying categories still make sense. If not, shift some costs and values accordingly.

September: Evaluate Investments

Like expenses, some investments come and go. Come September review your portfolio and the previous years earnings. Decide if certain investments are still right for you and whether or not you should reallocate funds.

October: Set Limits

With the holidays coming up, now is the time to set aside a portion of your budget for holiday expenses. Set financial limits now to keep yourself in check during these extravagant months. At the start of the new year, you?ll be glad you don?t have extra debt.

November: Max Out Contributions

As the year begins to commence, now is the time to max out any retirement, investment, or health savings plan contributions you can and make the most of your financial savings.

December: Yearly Review

Before the start of another year review and examine all of your financial costs, savings, and investments from the previous year. See what went well and was beneficial and where you can make adjustments in the coming year.


Do you set aside time each month to review your finances? What steps do you take each month?


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How to Use Your Money to Actually Buy Happiness

How to Use Your Money to Actually Buy Happiness

How to Use Your Money to Actually Buy HappinessA long-held and told notion throughout the years is the idea that money can?t buy happiness. In a consumerist society, it?s something we hear often to remind us of the truly important things in life like experiences, our health, and loved ones.

While in many cases that?s a true statement, as items tend to only make you happy for a short time until you want more, there are ways in which money can provide you with a happier more stress-free life. Here are four ways money can buy you happiness.

Through Investments

Investing your money wisely ensures that you?ll be better prepared in the future. Not only will you have the potential to grow your money into more, you?ll also have the ability to wisely build a fund for your retirement.

By doing so, you?ll pave the way for a day when you hopefully won?t have to worry about money, and when you do decide to retire, will actually be able to retire.

So, while this might not be immediate happiness, come retirement, your investments will help provide a life of contentment.

Paying Off Debt

Most financial advisors would tell you to make debt elimination your first financial focus. Debt, no matter how much you have, hangs over your head like a dark cloud until it?s gone.

Moreover, the longer you take to pay it off, the more you?ll have to pay. Debt inhibits you from doing other, more important things with your money, which is why paying it off not only frees you up financially, but paves the way for you to reach your financial goals as well.

Through Great Experiences

When you see something you want it can be hard to resist. As mentioned, things, however, only bring satisfaction for so long until they leave you wanting more or they wear out themselves. Experiences on the other hand, last forever.

Spend your money on that vacation you?ve been dying to go on, have a wonderful dinner, or take up a new hobby. You?ll create lasting memories you can always look back on.

Buying Time

In our busy world, time is the one thing most people feel like they could always use more of. That being said, one surefire way to buy happiness is to buy yourself some time. If you have the funds, use some of your money to hire out certain household duties.

Have someone mow your lawn, clean your house, order takeout every now and then, and take advantage of public transportation. Giving yourself a little extra time back will allow you to do a little more of what you love.

Money isn?t the most important thing in life. Nonetheless, you do need it to live and, if spent wisely, having a little extra can help make life easier. Having financial freedom to spend it towards your goals, experience the great aspects of life, and buy back some of your time, can mean your money will truly buy you some happiness.


What?s a great experience you could spend your money on? How does money buy you happiness?


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4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and Finances

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and Finances

4 Tips to Simplify Your Life and FinancesLife in the 21st century can be a little chaotic and stressful. Like most, you are probably pulled in a thousand different directions on a daily basis. With the rise of technology, you likely feel as though you?re constantly connected and on-the-go.

It?s no wonder movements like minimalism have become popular. In a life of constant commotion, people are searching for ways to make their lives easier and take a breather. When it comes to simplifying your life, one way to help alleviate stress is to simplify your finances.

Make your financial life one area you don?t have to stress about and follow these four tips to simplify your life and finances.

1. Consolidate Accounts

Whether you set up multiple accounts to take advantage of sign-up bonuses or simply create multiple ones for various purposes and goals, possessing more than two or three accounts only serves to create confusion and disarray in your finances.

Most people only need two accounts which are usually for personal and business purposes. Simplify your bank accounts by keeping it to one checking and one savings account for personal use.

When consolidating, look for banks that pay the best interest on your savings so you earn as much as possible. CIT Bank?is one option, paying 1.55% on your balance, with just a $100 minimum balance.

2. Set Up Automatic Payments

There?s no doubt that you should be fully aware of everywhere your income goes. This is why some individuals might be hesitant to set up automatic bill and savings pay. That being said, automating your payments will save you time and worry.

By setting up automatic bill pay, you ensure that you pay on time, every time and keep yourself from acquiring late fees. Moreover, by automating your savings as well, you guarantee that you save each month and aren?t tempted to spend that little extra. This will benefit you in the long-run.

3. Eliminate the Paperwork

If you?re anything like me, you might prefer the old school method of pen and paper. When it comes to your finances, however, sticking with the paper often serves to cause chaos.

Unless it?s a vitally important document such as a title or birth certificate, opt in to your financial institutions? paperless statements. Depending on your personality, you might just find that it?s easier to organize, keep track of and eliminates the need for extra storage space.

4. Cut Back

Between Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, BookoftheMonth and Trunk Club, there?s no shortage of subscription services available to you. However, simply because it exists doesn?t mean you necessarily need it.

Review any subscription or service you?re currently signed up for and decide whether or not you truly need it and it?s worth the money.

For example, you likely don?t need cable, Hulu, Netflix and HBOGo. So, decide what you use the most and cut the extras out.

Furthermore, the same goes for credit cards, don?t have five just because you can, stick to one or two great ones and eliminate the others.

Life is complicated, but your finances don?t have to be. Streamline and simplify your financial life by taking a few easy steps. You?ll not only save yourself from the headache and stress often associated with finances, but likely help keep potential errors and problems at bay in the process.


What are some services you?ve cut back that have made a difference? How many accounts do you find necessary?


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3 Ways to Make Money Management Fun

3 Ways to Make Money Management Fun

3 Ways to Make Money Management FunNo matter how much money you make, have, invest or save, one thing is always true, you must establish proper money management habits and practices.

After all, you could have all the money in the world and blow it due to lack of wise management. That being said, figuring out how to organize your finances on your own isn’t always an easy or invigorating task.

Like most, finances probably isn’t your passion or area of expertise, which no doubt causes you to dread any amount of time you have to dedicate to the subject. Managing your finances might be something you have to do, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

Here are three ways to make money management fun.?

1. Utilize Apps

More likely than not, you use your phone for just about everything, especially since developers have created an app for a wide array of categories. Well, finances are no different.

There’s a number of apps available that can not only help you manage your finances but can help you do so in a way that’s actually fun. Apps like Digit cleverly find ways to transfer a little here and there to help you save.

Others like Toshl are fun, monster-filled app and site that can help you with your budget and bills. There’s no shortage of programs to help you keep your finances in check without making it feel like work.?

2. Make It a Game

Anytime you have a task that’s less than entertaining, it always helps to turn it into a game or competition. Ergo, turning your finances into a game can be a great way to make money management fun.

Have a competition with family or friends to see who can save the most or stick to their budget. Or, see who can go the longest without spending money on some wants like takeout or a new top. Or, use an app like Prosper Daily to compete against your last month’s budget.

However, you choose to do so, find creative ways to make your finances seem like a game you want to win.?

3. Get Creative

Create colorful boards and charts to represent your goals or financial needs and habits. By infusing a little creativity and color into the items you need to keep track of, you’ll be more prone to actually work on them and keep your finances organized.

It may sound simple, but you’d be surprised what a little color can do. Moreover, find different ways help yourself work towards your goals, like creating a Pinterest board that represents what you’re saving towards. Or reward yourself with a little something special when you reach a milestone.

By doing so, you’ll want to manage your money and keep working towards your goal because you’ll get excited about the reward that awaits.

For most of us, money isn’t the most riveting of topics. Of course, whether it’s our favorite subject or not, it’s important to keep track of and properly manage your finances. Still, organizing your financial life doesn’t have to be as drab as you’d imagine. Get a little creative, make it fun, and you just might look forward to the time you spend doing so.?

How do you make money management fun? What are little rewards that you’ve found keep you working towards your goal?


Photo courtesy of: Kyle Sterk

4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Money

4 Easy Ways to Automate Your Money

4 Easy Ways to Automate Your MoneyOrganizing your finances is no simple task. Between your monthly expenses to your savings and emergency funds there’s no shortage of companies or accounts taking money from your net total.

Taking time out of your already busy week to organize and allocate your finances is one more item on your to-do list that you don’t need. A money manager can assist you in the administration of you finances. However, there are steps you can take yourself to automate your money.

These four steps that can help you create a system and save you hours during your week. Ease your financial stress and automate your money in these four easy ways.

1. Make a List of All Your Payments

The first step towards automating your money is figuring out where exactly your money is going.

List every bill and expense, emergency and savings fund, as well, as any investments you contribute to. Be sure to also list an estimate of how much you pay each month or so for each expense.

Upon doing so, you can begin to look into your payment options and ways in which you can set up automatic transfers.

Personal Capital is a free, easy to use, tool that lets you simplify a lot of that so you can see all your payments and accounts in one dashboard.

2. Open the Right Accounts

In order to successfully automate your finances, you’ll need to open up the correct bank accounts. You’ll want a primary checking account for most of your payments, but will also need a separate savings or emergency account.

Moreover, if used wisely, it can be smart to utilize a credit card account to keep for everyday, variable expenses, such as groceries, gas, or entertainment. This way you can earn rewards for your everyday spending.

3. Set Up Bill Pay

Most companies provide you with the option of setting up automatic bill pay through your bank account or credit card information. Instead of manually paying your bills, tuition costs or credit cards, opt to have the company your working with automatically draft the money from your account.

Furthermore, you can also set up automatic transfers to particular savings accounts to ensure you don’t spend that money.

CIT Bank is a great option for this, paying 1.55% on your balances – as long as you can start with a $100 minimum balance.

By setting up electronic payments, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not you’ve forgotten the due date. This can potentially save yourself from late fees or from accidentally spending the money elsewhere.

4. Automate Your Investments

Another way in which you should automate your finances is with your investment contributions as well. Once everything else is paid off, be sure to set up electronic payments to contribute to your retirement and investment accounts.

If you have a 401(k) set up through your employer, you’ll likely be automatically drafted from your paycheck. If you have an alternate investment account, predetermine times and amounts to transfer money, so you don’t have to worry about it or time the market.

Ally Invest is a great option for this as they allow you to automate much of your actions and charge an industry low $4.95 per trade.

Automating your finances is a fairly simple process that’ll save you time, money, and keep the guesswork out of wondering whether or not you’ve paid everything off for the month.

By setting up the correct accounts and automating your payments you’ll take the stress out of your finances and keep your payment goals on track.


What are some things to consider when automating your finances? What has helped you automate your money?


Photo courtesy of: Estee Janssens