By Zoe Eisenberg
Feeling bogged down by debt, or simply financially disorganized? Below are six quick tips to whipping your finances into better shape.
Create a debt list. If you’re in debt, have one cohesive list of all the debt you owe, with interest payments, so that you know your full total owed amounts AND which debts to tackle first. (Answer: the one with the highest interest).
Understand your total income and plan accordingly. If you have a salaried job, you likely know how much you make a year. But for hourly employees, or those with multiple streams of income, understanding your total income is trickier, but it can help you create a savings and debt slashing plan. List every income source and your average hours worked per month and calculate accordingly. Then figure out how much headway you’d need to make annually on your debt to slash it in the next five to 10 years.
Set up auto bill pay. There is no reason you shouldn’t be using automatic bill pay, which can help you avoid making late payments and ease the overall stress of paying bills. If you’re worried that there may not always be enough in the account, set up a reminder the day before your funds would be withdrawn to check in on your account.
Pay more than the minimum. Paying only the minimum on a credit card helps when funds are low, but seriously slows down any real repayment process, as much of your minimum payment is just handling interest. Try to always pay more than your minimum.
Automate your savings. You can set up auto transfers with your employer or bank to put a certain amount of every paycheck into your savings account. Stashing 10 percent every month will help build out your savings and/or retirement fund.
Implement a “no spend” day. To keep expenses low, choose one (or two!) days a week where you spend NO money. Pack a lunch, make your own coffee, cook your own dinner and avoid that online shopping urge.