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Great Organization Tips for Your Finances

Apr 06 2010


The average American family lives with $5000 to $8000 in credit card debt. These balances usually exceed 50 percent of the credit limit(s)—resulting in making minimum monthly payments—a practice by which costs consumers millions in interest and a lifelong struggle to repay the debt(s) in full.

The most practical and effective way to avoid negative disparities in income to expenses as well as costly interest payments is to set an itemized budget and build a savings fund. This can be done by starting with budgeting online or download-able software such as Mint.com or YNAB.com and implementing some regular habits to keep the projected budget in line.

The following practices will allow families to not only set a budget, but be able to manage and adhere to it successfully:

1. Set up a software budgeting program that includes all accounts (bank accounts, money markets, credit cards, et cetera).
2. Keep all monthly purchase and bill payment receipts (grocery store receipts, gas receipts, utility bill payments, insurance, et cetera)
3. Set two days of the month to pay your bills (the 1st and 15th or 15th or 30th—this will enable a better accounting of expenses)
4. Keep all financial information in one place (one central clearinghouse will ensure that every expense is being tracked)

Using the above steps will help to organize finances in a way that is beneficial to not only staying within budget, they will assist in identifying categories that exceed projected spending and will allow for a realignment of a budget. A good rule of thumb when it comes to finances is that income and expenses (including savings and investment contributions) ought to be equal. Expenses should not exceed income and income should not exceed expenses (the former means too much debt, the latter means a pitfall to debt).

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