Carefree Blonde

Friday, January 18, 2013

8 Starting Steps to Get Your Finances in Order!

Since being married, I've had this weird interest in finances. This could possibly be because of all the stats you read about one of the biggest problems in relationships has to do with money and finances. I mean who wants to argue with their spouse about anything, let alone something as serious as money!? After doing quite a bit of research, I've come across some awesome tips everyone should know about keeping their finances in order.
 
 
 
1. Live below your means. This step is HUGE!!....which is why it is number one. If you're living below your means, it will set you up for success in so many different areas later on in life. I mean think about it..would you rather act like you're living large now and get into some serious credit card debt....OR be frugal and live within your means, so later on you will be able to "live large" without having to worry about paying off debts you got into earlier because you wanted something now!
 
2. It's ok to want something. It's actually healthy and ok for us to struggle a little bit to earn something. It will make us appreciate our money and what we buy that much more. I feel like our generation feels so entitled to everything and relys too much on plastic money for things that they want but don't actually have money in the bank for.
 
3. If you know you struggle disciplining yourself when it comes to credit cards... DON'T GET ONE! Did you know that Macy's came out a while back and said that they make the majority of their money not from their products, but from the interest on their credit cards!? Don't get me wrong, there are some awesome benefits to having a credit card...but only if you can control yourself. Some companies will give you sky miles or a percentage back of what you spend, so if you use your credit card like a debit card and regularly pay it off, it can be a great asset.
 
 
 
4. If you're already in debt a great strategy to help yourself get out, is to pay off your smallest debts first. This is recommended for a couple reasons. First of all it's motivating to be able to cross a debt off your list. For a lot of people, if you're paying on a big debt you have, but it doesn't seem like you're getting any closer to paying it off, it gets discouraging and people give up. Secondly, once you have your smaller debts payed off, you'll be able to put bigger chunks of money towards your larger debts to get rid of them that much quicker!! Another great idea is to take job bonuses, or tax refunds and put them towards your debts. It may not be the funnest thing to spend that money on, but it's worth it.
 
5. Try to put at least 10% of each check into your savings account. It is so important to have a savings for little emergencies, or even for a future purchase like a new car or couch. A lot of banks have online banking tools that you can set up to take a certain amount out of your checking and put into your savings each month. This way you can build your savings and not have to worry about remembering to transfer the funds or tempt yourself.
 
6. Learn how to budget and track your spending. This could really be number one, but it's important to know where your money is going. It's so easy to spend $5 here and there for food without thinking, but then when you add it all up you'll be amazed at how much you spend just on small things like that! Mint.com is free, and  a great website to help with tracking and budgeting your money. There is  also software like quickbooks or quicken designed to help with home finances. You can get these at Best Buy and Costco.
 
 
 
7. Keep copies of bills, and write the date you sent a payment, or spoke to someone on the phone. I can't tell you how many times this has saved me! I've had companies try to say that I hadn't paid a bill, but I was able to go back to my copy and tell them the invoice number, who I spoke to, and when I sent a payment off. After doing this, they would locate my payment and appoligize because someone hadn't put it in the right place. Needless to say had I not had a copy, that process would have taken a lot longer and been a huge pain in the butt! Always make sure to follow through with your payments!
 
8. Pay your tithes. Now I'm a very religious person, and I strongly believe that the Lord is the best paymaster. When you sacrifice even just 10% of what you make, the Lord will bless you for it.
We believe (this)
 
Now I'm definately not a financial advisor, and these tips are just things that have helped me get started with having my finances in order. There are so many other things that will further your organization with finances like having a "Home Binder" basically having all your passwords and institutions where your money is at in one place. If something happened to you, this should be a place where your husband could find anything he needs to (bills, important phone numbers, passwords, investments, etc.) Obviously you'd want to put this "Home Binder" in a safe or somewhere you wouldn't have to worry about it. A couple great books on home finances are One  for the Money, and Total Money Makeover. Check them out!
 
I hope everyone has an amazing......warm weekend filled with hot cocoa and cuddles!!
 
XO Amanda
 
 

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