|Money management or managing
money and finance matters is daunting for
a lot of people. You may be confused or not know
where or how to start handling your finances. Money
matters can seem like an endless bustle. Questions
like how do I get started or how will I know if
I'm making the right choices may overwhelm you.
The good news is that you can handle your finances!
There are many resources to help you accomplish
that. It's not about becoming a financial guru or
having your whole life perfectly structured and
planned. It's about starting exactly where you are
and taking small, manageable steps.
There are so many benefits in managing your finances.
You'll have the peace of mind knowing that you can
take care of your basic, monthly and everyday expenditures.
You won't be caught without money for unexpected
expenses. You'll have the comfort of knowing that
you're doing the best for you and your family. Now
isn't that rewarding enough?
A Fresh Start for Family Finances
by Rob Sallay
While 40% to 50% of us make New Years resolutions
on January 1a ritual that has existed since ancient
timesapproximately 60% to 80% of us have already
broken them by the end of February, according to researchers.
Its still not too late, however, to reset the trajectory
on your familys finances, experts note.
1. Build a Budget
If you havent already done so, create a realistic
Approximately 85% of your income should be set aside for
necessities like housing, food, health care and clothing,
according to the professionals at VISA USA.
This leaves 15% for entertainmentand something many
consumers completely neglect: savings.
2. Distinguish Needs from Wants
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need
in life versus what you want in life.
You need to pay for the antibiotics when the doctor diagnoses
a respiratory infection. You dont need to buy the
latest movie released on DVD to aid in your recovery.
You need to pay the rent or mortgage. You dont need
to buy the lovely accent pillows that beckon to you from
the interior design boutique.
Always separate the needs from the wantsparticularly
if money is tight.
3. Monitor Your Spending
To see what you really spend each month, keep a running
log of all purchasesno matter how smallfor
a full month. This will give you a visual display of where
your money goes after you deposit your paycheck.
You may find that the $3 cup of coffee that starts each
day adds up to $90 a montha pocketbook pincher that
may prompt you to buy a pound of coffee beans at the local
market and grind them yourself. That $90 blossoms into
$1,080 in savings at the end of a year.
4. Create an Emergency Fund
Life is full of surprisesboth positive and negative.
If you happen to lose your job or suffer an illness that
temporarily sidelines you, you will need cash reserves
to support you during the rough months.
In most cases, consumers who find themselves dealing
with a financial hardship are unprepared and have not
saved for unexpected situations, says Diane Giarratano,
director of education for Novadebt, a U.S. financial management
service agency, with multiple locations, that provides
credit counseling, budgeting and financial education.
5. Educate Yourself
When you attended high school or college, you studied
history, mathematics, language and science, but there
was probably no course in basic money management.
If you need help in meeting a financial goalwhether
its buying a home or reducing your debttake
advantage of community resources.
Consumers should feel free to contact a good credit-counseling
agency to obtain free advice with regard to establishing
a budget or to learn how to handle unexpected hardships,
6. Dont Become a Victim
Identity theft has become an international epidemic, so
be extremely cautious when giving out your credit card
or personal identifying information. Monitor your credit
card bills carefully for unauthorized charges, and immediately
report suspicious activity to the issuing company.
Identity theft is often an inside job, warns
Robert L. Siciliano, a personal security expert with Boston,
Massachusetts-based SafetyMinute Seminars and author of
The Safety Minute.
Lower-level help desk workers and frontline call
center employees often have access to all our personal
information in their databases, he says. What
are you doing to protect yourself? If youre not
paying attention, you could be a victim, too.
And when a disaster strikes, such as the recent killer
tsunamis in South Asia and East Africa, be wary of scammers
from fake charities before reaching for your checkbook.
Unfortunately, there will always be unscrupulous individuals
who seize such opportunities to profit from others
Avoid using your credit card to make contributions,
advises James Walsh, author of You Cant Cheat
An Honest Man: How Ponzi Schemes and Pyramid Frauds Work
Why Theyre More Common Than Ever.
Even though this can be a convenient way to proceed,
many crooks are looking for credit card numbers,
Walsh says. They will press strongly for immediate
support. Dont rush.
Instead, initiate the call yourself, and select a reputable
Go with recognized names, Walsh says. No
organization is perfect; even the best-meaning groups
occasionally misallocate money or fall victim to abusive
employees. But larger charitable groupslike the
Red Cross, the United Way and Catholic Charitieshave
the mechanisms in place to audit their people and performance.
Charitable contributions are tax-deductible, so keep good
records of all donationsincluding small cash gifts.
Fox Symes assists all Australians discover the truth about
their debts and how they can rapidly reduce them. There
are methods available to the Australian public and you
can discover how to use these to assist you in reducing
your debt with a free phone consultation from Fox Symes.
Visit http://www.foxsymes.com.au or contact them directly
on 1300 361 204.