Money Management Tips

Create a system for paying and organizing your bills.
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Burying your head in the sand when it comes to your money is a recipe for a financial breakdown. An active role in your money management means you'll know what's going on with your money, both coming into your account and leaving it. Effective money management keeps your finances in the black.

Customize Your System

A one-size-fits-all approach to organizing your finances doesn't take into consideration personal differences. With your partner, come up with a method of keeping all of your expenses organized. Financial software works for many couples. For a more basic approach, consider a spreadsheet that tracks your expenses. No matter how you do it, the system should make money management easier for you personally.

Know Your Status

Your credit score plays a major role in lenders' decisions to loan you money. Staying informed on what your credit score is doing allows you to get your finances back in line or keep them that way. Check your credit report once a year and review everything on it for inaccuracies. Report anything that isn't correct. Work to improve your credit rating if it's lower that you want. Paying bills on time and keeping your balances low on credit cards helps.

Set Financial Guidelines

You want to put your extra money in the savings account; your partner thinks a trip to Paris would be nice. You won't always agree on financial issues, but setting some ground rules for spending money might prevent squabbles about your finances. If you share a bank account, you could easily get an overdraft if you both make large purchases without communicating. Set guidelines about spending larger amounts such as checking with each other partner before spending more than $100 at a time.

Be Thrifty

A rich life goes beyond the balance in your bank account. Simplifying your life and focusing more on the people you value helps you keep spending in check without feeling deprived. Being thrifty now helps you build up your savings so you have more freedom later to pursue your interests.

Call in the Professionals

There is no shame in getting financial help from a professional. If your current financial health is on life support, contact a debt counselor at a non-profit agency. Consultations are often free and it won't hurt your credit score unless you choose to go on a debt management plan. If your finances are already on a positive track, meeting with a financial planner gives you a professional assessment along with suggestions for investing and preparing for the future.

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