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Finances Life Essentials
Share your best tips for organizing and sticking to your budget.
I started using Mint.com, this really great site that hooks up to ANY of your bank accounts, student loans, credit cards, even your 401K. It takes all of your financial information (balances, transactions, etc) and puts it all in one easy place to access. You can create budgets for specific categories, such as Groceries/Food, Entertainment, Shopping, etc, and they even e-mail you to let you know if you’ve gone over! I highly recommend trying it!
I set aside time each day for mail. I have it down so pat that it only takes me 5-15 minutes per day. I deal with everything right away and then put the filing into previously created subfiles marked accordingly. If you make dealing with your mail and filing a priority, it will never get out of hand and your household will run oh so smoothly.
Sharon J. Prystai
Hi,I’m Sharla a 49 year old woman in dire need of finacial advice as to how to manage the little fund I have and pay off past due debt that has been preventing me from moving forward.I was reading a little about what you all offer in an Essence magazine article a few months ago and it made me feel as though you could possibly help me get buttoned up with my finances so that when I am employed again and although the economy is bad right now,I am hopeful that you can help me to get a better credit rating and learn new financial habits on how to never be in this position again.Literally I am one disability check or poor spending choice away from homelessness and I watch the news and I’m very clear that I am not alone.I don’t drink,I don’t do drugs,and I’m not a “sugar ma ma” I really need your help please E-mail me soon. Thanks Sharla
Tip #1: Keep it separate.
We have a separate bank account (separate bank) where the money that is allocated for grocery shopping ($200 per week) and discretionary spending ($200 per month) is kept. Twice a month when the paycheck comes through, the appropriate amounts go into that account. That gives me the freedom of using what I have or coming in under budget and building up the remainder for something I would otherwise go without (a massage or professional pedicure).
Tip #2: Recycle for toys.
We take all our plastic, aluminum, and glass containers to the local recycle guy and stash the cash in a jar to use on toys, books, and other fun items for our toddler. Since trading my FT job as an accountant to be a FT mom, I’ve had to come up with ways to make one income stretch. I figure it’s good for the environment, good for our son to know that we “do” something to “get” something, and stops me from giving in to impulse buys.