Five Smart Tips For Managing Your Finances Efficiently

Posted on Jan 3 2014 - 9:56am by Michael Vincent

Saving Box

Life is short, so we have to squeeze every drop out of it—by maximising our time, effort, and money to the fullest, by doing everything we set out to do or ever dreamed of doing—whether we want to climb the highest mountain or cross the deepest sea—so that when we’re old and start losing all our hair or teeth, we won’t look back on our past with regret.

But seizing the day doesn’t only mean doing the things we want. It also means being responsible—in our jobs, with our family and friends, and with our money.

That sheer inability to manage money properly is the bane of existence for many of us. We forget to save. We think the future is faraway and that saving is only for old people. When we’re young, we have all the time in the world to waste our money on things. Right?

Wrong. The younger we start to save, the greater our financial security will be in the future. Because, what they say is wrong: we don’t have all the time in the world. We can’t keep putting it off. Otherwise, we could end up in debt, with no idea on how we ever got there in the first place.

To keep this from happening, here are some smart tips some of us can follow so we can manage our finances efficiently:

Follow the budget

The first and foremost rule of money management is to live within our means. We can start following a strict budget every month. To be able to save more than we earn, we could try to prioritize saving over spending. Then, when pay day comes, we could set aside money into an account we absolutely musn’t touch. What’s left from our income can then be spent on all our other expenses for the month. This way, we’ll see our money grow as weeks and months and years pass by.

Look for better deals

Looking for cheaper alternatives is another good way for us to save money. This may be as simple as not getting that extra shot of syrup for our morning macchiato at our favorite corner café or choosing a smaller size for our drink, or even taking the public bus to work instead of taking the car, or cab, to work all the time. Love ketchup? Then we could go for a cheaper one. These choices don’t necessarily need to reflect sudden changes in our lifestyle. We could do it once or twice a week, and then move on gradually to three times a week and so forth. Sometimes, even the simplest change in our lifestyle choices can help us save plenty if we keep at them long and hard.

Think about your biggest money fears

Most times, it’s infinitely better for us to confront our fears. What are the worst money fears we have? Usually, it’s about a loved one dying and leaving us behind. No matter how plucky or strong or emotionally-adjusted we are, most of won’t be able imagine life without our partners or parents or friends. When death happens, it’s not just emotionally devastating; it could be financially harrowing as well. Imagine the added stress if we had to deal with paying for the hospital bills and burial expenses along with all the emotional stress. Then, there are mortgages or monthly rent payments and there’s always the scary thought that we won’t be able to pay or complete those payments, that we might lose the roof over our heads, or that we might even lose our jobs. How can we resolve those fears? The second and third is easy—by saving plenty. For the first one, while having enough money won’t be able to ease that sense of loss, at the very least, we’ll have the time to grieve and heal without money problems coming into it.

Pay your bills on time

We may think that we’re handling our finances well because we have a credit card to provide us with the extra funds we need for emergency situations. However, not paying in full every month, or paying late, or completely missing the month’s payment will leave us charged for interest rates that can crop up over time—which isn’t so smart at all! So we should smarten up by paying our bills on time so we can avoid wasting money that could’ve gone to an upgrade in our coffee or food or groceries.

Download a finance management app

If we can’t control our personal finances as much as we’d want to, we could try searching for an app on our smartphone, one that could help us handle our money. Most apps may now be downloaded free of charge. One of these is the Money Manager, which can help us organize our expenses into 12 categories. Money Manager includes a pie chart so we can envision just how much of our money is being consumed by a certain category. There’s also the Expense Manager app, or other mobile apps available in our area.

We can be financially smart by following these money management tips. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day so it may take some time for us before we could get the hang of properly managing our finances. Trying to start small and following just one or two a day until we work our way through the list will help give us the right skills for handling our finances efficiently.

About the Author
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This article is presented by Michael Vincent of Money Hero for i2Mag.com. Money Hero is Hong Kong’s leading financial comparison website. Compare a broad range of financial products, from credit cards to insurance plans.