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MoneyMgmtTips
Managing Your Money with TDECU

Money management is the process of knowing how and where you are spending your money. By putting a solid financial plan in place, you can ensure a safe and secure financial future and protect yourself from unexpected fluctuations in your personal situation, the economy or local market. TDECU seeks to help its members in every way possible so you can enjoy your hard earned money and have a plan that works for you, now and in the future.

What are the important concepts of money management?

Like any other goal, financial goals should always be specific. For example, wanting to save $1,000,000 for retirement by age 65 is a good, achievable goal. But how are you going to get there? You need to understand what you want, what you will do to make it happen, and how much it will cost. What types of goals should you have? Short-term (under a year), mid-term (one to five years), and long-term (five-plus years) are good categories to get you started.

 

 

When your financial affairs are in a state of disarray, everything is confusing. You don’t know which bills have been paid, and how much income is coming in. Being organized is essential to efficient money management. Once everything is in order and accessible, you’ll never have to waste time searching for important documents, miss payments or be surprised.

How do you get organized? Have a place in your home where you handle all of your personal financial business. Whether it’s your office, den or spare bedroom, it’s important to have a central location to take care of everything. It’s good to have a file cabinet or set of files at a minimum to house all of your financial documents, both current and historical. You may want to get a shredder to destroy old ATM receipts, account statements and canceled checks. Having a fireproof safe is also a good idea for insurance policy documents, deeds/titles for your home, car, and other real property and other important documents. Another good idea is to receive online statements from your credit union. It's a good way to keep confidential information safe in Online Banking and not sitting in your mailbox.

No matter what you learn about financial management, there is one cardinal rule: Always spend less than you earn. It’s a simple concept, but has been lost in the “I want it now” American culture we live in. Whether you’re not able to pay the bills, have credit card debt or want to save, but have not been able to do so, it’s critical to get back on track. The answer, of course, is to determine how much you are spending. By tracking your purchases, you can see how much and what you are spending your money on.

So how do you start? Track your expenses for a minimum of one month. Of course, the longer you do it, the better. What are the most popular tracking techniques? Simply writing it down is the easiest way. It helps to have your expenses categorized, such as home expenses, food and entertainment, medical and insurance, education, auto, etc. Or download a budget app for your smartphone to track those on-the-go expenses. Another way to do it is by keeping your receipts and using them to tally expenses. Of course, you can also check your account activity online. Finally, you can use budgeting software like Quicken or QuickBooks.
A budget is simply a plan for what you want to do with your money. It sets restrictions on spending and shows how much income is flowing in. The key is to stay disciplined. By doing so, you will have the extra money you need to fund your child’s college education and for the fun things you enjoy, like an annual vacation. Again, expenses should never exceed income. That’s the rule. Here are the basic steps for building your budget:

-List and total your monthly net income from all sources
-List and total your current monthly expenses, both fixed and variable. You can use the same categories suggested above as an easy way to continue to track expenses to budget
-Subtract your current expenses from your current income
-Identify where you want to make budgetary changes
-Stick to it, month in, month out and always stay on top of it

There are many free budgeting tools you can find online or for your smartphone, or you can use templates that come with word processing or spreadsheet software.

And then there is the saving part. Setting aside cash on a regular basis is very important. It allows you to achieve your financial goals and provides a safety net during financially challenging times. How much should you save? Most experts say you should set aside 10% of your monthly net income.

Also, establish an emergency fund. Stop the vicious cycle of using credit cards or skipping bills when something unexpected happens in your life. How much should you have in your fund? At least three to six months for essential living expenses.

 

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