Now that we are a month into 2012, have you changed any of your money management habits or developed a plan to get out of debt? If you find that you are following the same old patterns as last year, it is not too late to make a plan to improve your financial situation this year. Even if you aren’t at the point of credit negotiations or debt settlement, getting started early can ensure you never need to end up there.
Putting Pen To Paper
While three-quarters of all Americans carry enough to debt to challenge their monthly income, less than one-quarter actually have an expense budget. Creating and following a budget has become a thing of the past, which could be contributing to why more of us are deeper in debt than we would like to be. Even though very few of us use a checkbook and register anymore, there are a multitude of ways to keep track of your spending each month. Online tools, cell phone apps and computer software all offer easy ways to monitor your expenses and avoid overspending. Many of these new technological advances even offer email or text message alerts to notify you when approaching a budget overage or are low on funds. The general idea is that finding a tool to track your expenses and eliminate unnecessary spending is the best place to start for reshaping your financial habits.
Putting It In Action
Following a monthly budget is a must-have for anyone looking to change the way they spend each month. Getting up close and personal with your money can highlight patterns and display areas in which you can easily cut back. However, recognizing these areas does very little unless you actually do something with that money. Many banks offer automatic checking to savings drafts that can make saving money easy and effortless. You can set up a system to transfer as much or as little as you like each month into your savings without ever having to get online or go to the bank. Transferring as little as $50 a month can put an additional $600 in your savings account by the end of the year, imagine what you could do with more.