Managing your personal finances should not include a scream right out of a Halloween horror movie. If bills, receipts and mail seem to pile up, and you are not sure how much money you have in your checking and savings accounts, you could probably use some budgeting advice. Take a look at these budgeting tricks and treats, and keep the ghosts of past financial troubles out of your wallet.
Write it all down- Create an actual budget, complete with allocated funds for bills, debt payments, savings, food and entertainment. Do it by month or by week. Start with your income and divide it up into all of your spending and saving buckets.
Pay bills online- Setting up payment schedules through your checking account is an easy way to make sure everything gets paid on time. It will also save you money on postage and checks. Most banks provide this service for free. If yours does not, try to negotiate for it.
Pay yourself first- You have heard this advice from many financial gurus. Invest a portion of your monthly or weekly paycheck for retirement and for your rainy day fund. Put this money away before you even realize you have it.
Late fees- If you are even one day late paying your credit card bill, you will be faced with an expensive late fee. The same thing goes for your mortgage or rent payments, and utility bills. If you are going to send payments through the mail, allow at least one week for them to arrive.
Not using direct deposit- If you receive an actual check from your employer, you might be tempted to cash it and spend it before it even hits your bank account. Direct deposit will allow your money to clear your bank immediately, giving you instant access to your funds.
Lazy recordkeeping- Are you one of those people using your debit card and not writing down what you spend? Keep track of your expenses so you know if your budget is on track. This will also help you avoid overdrawing your checking account. Spending more than you have in the bank will cost you additional fees.