Becoming an adult isn't an easy process for some of us,
especially in the financial department. It takes time to learn what is going to
work for you and making mistakes along the way is just part of the journey.
With that in mind, here are five easy tips to help
you simplify your finances and get things in order, plus two roadblocks to
1. Use direct deposit. You'll never have to stand in to line
to cash or deposit your paycheck again. Let your credit union automatically put
your paycheck in your account so that it'll be in your account waiting for you
2. Set up automatic withdrawals to your savings account. You
don't even have to remember to save money anymore! The credit union can remember
for you. It's the easiest way to build up a solid savings without having to
remember to pay yourself each month.
3. Keep track of your money.
Whether you check your Online Banking account or the check register in
the back of your checkbook, you'll need to know what's exactly in your account
to avoid overdraft fees. And checking your balance online pretty regularly will
allow you know if fraud ever occurs on your account sooner rather than later.
4. Create a payment calendar. We all know that late bills
can cause big problems, so create an easy-to-read calendar that reminds you
when bills and payments are due. Using Online Bill Pay can help since you can
set up bills to be paid automatically each month if you'd like. You can also
rearrange dates that certain bills are due each month to allow for a more
balanced payment schedule.
5. Make a plan. Be sure to plan for all your expenses and
savings goals using a budget. It doesn't have to be fancy, but do make it
something you will actually use. A simple spreadsheet works for some, while
others choose to use apps or online budgeting tools. Whatever method you use,
make sure it's realistic and accounts for your savings goals.
Avoid: Overusing credit. Having access to credit cards can
be handy, but make sure not to overuse them. Most people know that credit cards
can get us into trouble, but it is very easy to fall into the debt trap. You
start carrying a little balance on your credit cards and it builds up. You may
then have to dip into savings to pay your credit card bills. Avoid this
situation by using credit sparingly and only for identified and planned
purchases. Implement a plan to save for major purchases and pay for most, if
not all, of them in advance. When you do need to use credit cards, choose cards
with a great rate, few fees, rewards, and excellent customer service. Simple is
key when you're dealing with finances.
Avoid: Spending too much on a car. Buying a new car often
trips us up when we are young. While it may make financial sense to buy a new
car, be careful not to buy more car than you need. A flashy and expensive car
may be tempting, but keep your long-term goals in mind and choose a car that
serves your current needs without sabotaging your savings. Remember, just
because you can be approved for a certain loan amount doesn't mean you can
actually afford it. Make sure any purchase fits into your overall budget and