Money is anything used for the exchange of goods and services. Money is, in the world of commerce, what blood is to the human body. The roles money plays in our daily lives cannot be over-emphasized. It is pervasive, yet very few people understand how to deal with the challenges arising from the use of it.
Your money is an important aspect of your life. The amount of money you have can determine what you do, where you go and how you live on a daily basis. Learning how to manage money is, therefore, an important step towards taking control of your life. In order to manage your money properly, you must first understand the source of your money and how you spend it. Make sure that the way you manage your money falls in line with the things that matter most to you.
Very importantly, the secret to living a financially free life is to cultivate effective money habits. Fortunately, you do not need any degree in finance to be a good manager of your money.
Now let us briefly look at those simple steps that can help you manage your money efficiently.
1. Set up a budget and most importantly, stick to it. The rule is to spend less than you earn. Having a budget helps you track your spending, i.e. you know what you spend money on, on a daily basis. You may be amazed that those little amounts you spend on certain routine add up. One good way of tracking your spending is to open a bank account.
2. Understand the flow of your income: Know what you earn from your job or your business. Know your true income. If you are a salary earner, your true income is your earning minus compulsory deductions such as tax, pensions and other statutory deductions required to be taken out at source by your employer. If you are a businessman, place yourself on a salary and discipline yourself by living within the salary as though you are an employee by following the rules highlighted above. This is what accountants refer to as net income. Budget on your net income. You cannot manage your financial resources properly if you do not have a clear idea of what those resources are.
3. Actively manage your bank account. Some people do not pay attention to what goes on with their bank accounts. Keep a record of all additions to your bank account and all that you have withdrawn from it either directly from the bank, checks or the electronic channels like ATM machine and POS terminals. At the end of the month, make sure that what you have in your account tallies with what you expect to have based on your calculation. Where you are not able to explain any differences in the number, contact your bank immediately for an explanation.
4. Start saving: You have a budget; you track your spending and you are probably spending less than you earn; now it is time to begin to save. You should have a savings account and once you received your monthly salary or earn income from your business, put away a part of it in the savings account. An easy way to save is to give a standing order to your bank to transfer a certain amount of money to a named savings account once your salary account is credited. If you save as little as 10 percent of your earning every month, you will be amazed at how your savings account will grow by the month.
5. Invest: By investing part of your savings, you are actually getting your money to work for you. Set aside a portion of the money in your savings account for investment on a regular basis. There are many options available to you to start investing such as stocks and mutual funds. For a beginner, mutual funds are a safe and easy way to begin investing.
Most importantly, a common source of money troubles for most people is bad borrowing. By bad borrowing I mean when you borrow money to fund consumption rather than acquiring income-yielding assets. If you manage your money well by following the steps highlighted in this article, you will have less cause to borrow money in order to meet your daily need. Managing your money effectively will help you take control of your life. If you manage your money properly, you become less anxious about your finances.