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How To Become Better With Managing Finances In 5 Easy Steps
When you’re a college student, you think your financial situation is rough. That might be the case, but there is another way to look at this. You’re about to read some surprising numbers about Americans and their financial situations. If things are bleaker for many Americans than is often advertised, then you actually have an advantage.
Think of it this way. A lot of those people who are struggling right now would love to go back to their college years so they could make better financial decisions. Many of these people are halfway through the race; you just heard the starting gun. Below are five ways to better manage your finances, whether it’s for the present or the future.
1. Figure Out Your Income Vs. Expenses
In order to win, you need to know everything about the challenge or challenger. In this case, it’s your own finances. The only way to move forward with a plan is to first determine where you stand.
Figuring out your monthly income should be easy. You can probably calculate it in your head right now. For your expenses, you will likely need a calculator. Not because the number is high, but because there are so many expenses. This might include rent, car payments, utilities, gas money, cable, entertainment, food, other subscription services, etc.
Now figure out how much money you have remaining. Do you even have money remaining? If not, or if the money remaining is too low to invest or save, then you need to cut some expenses.
2. Cutting Expenses
Before moving forward, it should be noted that having money to invest or save isn’t the only reason to have extra money at the end of the month. Another reason is in case you have an emergency, such as your car breaking down. For simplicity purposes, let’s say you unexpectedly need $1,000 in car repairs. As a college student, chances are high that you’re not going to be able to cover that. Even if you weren’t a college student, that’s likely to be the case.
According to GOBanking Rates, 58% of Americans wouldn’t be able to cover a $1,000 emergency. This is why it’s important to have savings. Otherwise, you might end up heading down a dark road, which will be covered soon. Let’s see how you can add savings in order to avoid that road.
The first places you want to look at to cut expenses are cable, cell phone, gym membership, and any subscription services you don’t use, such as Netflix. For the cable and gym membership, cancel them if you don’t use them. If you do use them, contact each one to get a better rate because you have been a loyal customer. They will often honor this request. For the cell phone, negotiate for a better rate.
If you have a credit card, look into a competing credit card with a 0% Introductory Rate. This will eliminate all interest payments for a year, which will save you money.
3. NEVER Use Payday Loans
Payday loans might be tempting, but you should avoid them at all costs. These loans aren’t only tempting for college students. According to Bankrate, 25% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, which leads to some desperate situations when thins come up. However, there is a more important stat.
Four out of five people who use a payday loan will borrow again, and the annual interest rate on a payday loan ranges between 261% and 782%, which is astronomical. Once you get in, it’s tough to get out. And if you don’t pay, the lender is going to extract money from your checking account. If you don’t have money in your checking account to cover what you owe, expect to hear from lawyers. Once again, NEVER use payday loans!
4. Pay Yourself 10% Of Every Paycheck
In order to avoid problems and to make sure you have an emergency fund ready, always pay yourself first. At 10%, it won’t hurt your lifestyle. At the same time, your savings will build quickly. Get into the habit starting today. You can set this up automatically with your bank.
5. Be A Deal Hunter
It’s easy to spend a few minutes online to search for discount deals for cell phones, gym memberships, travel, restaurants, and much more. You will usually be investing 20-30 minutes for savings that total well beyond an hourly minimum wage. How much you save is just as important as how much you earn.
Now you have a road map to manage your money better. Follow these steps and you should do well in the Fiscally Responsible Arena.
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