Tuesday, March 13, 2012

6 Tips for Managing Your Money

By no means am I a money management expert. However, I was very lucky to be raised in a home where my Dad is the President of a bank and my Mom runs a household like a business when it comes to finances. So, I had money management fundamentals instilled in me from a young age. I didn't even have my first credit card until I was out of college.

Today I thought I would share with you some of my tips and tricks that I use to manage our household finances. I'm a lot like my mother was. Staying on top of our money and bills is something that I take extremely serious (David would say I might be a tad neurotic about money) and it's important to me to make sure that there is enough money in the bank in case an emergency should arise.

So, take them or leave them - here are my top 6 tips for making your finances work for you.

  1. Automatic Bill Pay - Currently, I only have one bill that's not set up to automatically pay. The benefit of this is ensuring that your bills are paid on time. You don't have to worry about mailing in a check or finding the time to go by and pay that bill that is due. I use my banks website to pay our bills automatically. I can log on at any time to see when they are due, change the due date or see how much the payment is for. I have one page with all my bills on it that I can reference quickly.
  2. Use a Calendar - Even with automatic bill pay, I still write down in my planner what day my payments are coming out each month. I've taken it one step further and also added them to my Google calendar with reminders. I'm a visual person. This helps me to know what kind of money will be coming out of our account each week and determine if we have money for the 'extra' things; for example, new track shoes or ordering pizza on Friday night.
  3. Have a Savings Account - Even if you can only put back $5 a week - do it! Having savings is so important. If you have direct deposit at your work, set up a savings account and allocate an amount to go into that account each pay cycle. Once you get used to it, you won't even miss it. Having savings will help you out enormously when something happens like a car repair, or home repair, that you didn't have budgeted. This will take a little of the stress off and give you a way to pay for some of life's unexpected.
  4. Mobile Banking - Almost all banks have some sort of mobile banking these days. I've set up alerts that I can receive by text. I have one that lets me know when the balance in our checking account hits a certain amount. You can set it up to tell you if a charge hits your account over a certain dollar amount. And I also getting a text message on Monday of each week with my balance (which you can set up to do daily). This serves as a good reminder to me and keeps our spending habits at the front of my mind. You may not be able to log in daily to check your account or what's cleared the bank.
  5. If You Can't Pay it Off, Don't Charge It - I'm not a huge fan of the credit card. I've seen them wreck to many people's lives. My rule of thumb is, if you are going to use your credit card, make sure you can pay off the full amount at the end of the month. Minimum payments can be the death of someone and the interest you pay for money that was spent long ago is ridiculous(that interest could be going into your Savings Account). There are a lot of cards out there now that you can earn rewards and points and that's great. Just make sure you only charge what you know you can pay off come month end.
  6. Set an Allowance - Be it you or your spouse, or both - set an allowance. Each week David gets a certain amount of money. This money is his to spend on whatever he may need (food, drinks, baseball cards, etc). When the money is spent, it's spent. This is a great tool for people who aren't the best managing their money and have a habit of living beyond their means. If entertainment is your weakness, set aside so much money each week for that. And when it's gone, it's gone. This way you're not spending money you don't have or money that should be paying something else.

Like I said, I'm no expert, but all the above work really well for me and our family. Maybe all of these don't work for you, but one or two do! I hope if money management isn't something you excel at, I've given you something that may help... or at least got you to thinking about what might work for you.

What are your tips and tricks for managing your household budget?


  1. The hubby and I have a general rule that is similar to your credit card advice. We save up for things that we want and need, we don't rely on loans or credits of any kind. I'm a state employee and with the economy being so crazy, our jobs usually get cut first. That makes us not want to create what for us would be "unnecessary bills" (credit cards). As soon as I get paid, I move money into our joint checking and saving accounts. I never let the money just sit in my account...I don't want to get too attached. LOL.

    We have monthly budget meetings that he hates, but its a great way to see how we spend our money and at what rate we're building our savings. At the meetings we look at our list of wants and needs to figure out which items we'll get next. This is housed in a notebook, complete with monthly budget sheets and calendars. I'm nerdy like that. ;)

  2. This is great advice! I really need to buckle down and this helped!



  3. I like to pick one recurring bill (car payment, student loan etc) and pick an amount each month to overpay consistently, it really helps to pay down the interest faster. Even if it is only $50 more a month the long run savings really add up. Also, if I ever find myself with a cash gift (tax return, work bonus, etc) I split it in thirds and pay one third to a bill as an extra payment, one third into savings and one third that is just for me to spend on myself.

  4. Hi Manda! I found your blog through Mom2MemphisandRuby. I am from East Texas and thought I would drop in and say hi! Your blog is beautiful and can't wait to read more. :)

  5. Your article just got me all charged up. I was already using an automatic bill payment service, so that's done. Setting aside a savings account + setting a weekly allowance is going to be my next step, this is so simple and makes sense, thank you!

  6. I have got a new credit card recently. Can anyone share information or credit cards advice about how to use it effectively and to save money. pls share your comments....

  7. The tips you provided were simple and easy to follow. I follow principle number five by heart. I never purchase what I can’t afford. If what you want isn’t beneficial at all, then it can wait for some other time. We don’t need to be experts to handle our finances properly; all it takes is self-control, discipline and determination.