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7 Secrets to Personal Finance Success

Personal finance management can sometimes seem like a daunting task. With the amount of financial responsibilities people have today, keeping track of anything can prove to be quite challenging. However, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to be successful in personal finance management.

I’ve come up with a nice list of some tips anyone can use when managing your money. With some economists calling an official “recession” in the USA, it is a good idea to keep your finances in check!

1. Stay Organized
Organization can be helpful in all areas of life, especially personal finance. The most organized people will usually have the most success. Being organized in personal finances isn’t tremendously difficult either. Simply keeping track of bills, when things are due, and how much money you have can do wonders. There are also a variety of things one can do to help stay organized. Using calendars to write down when payments are due, or using any other sort of organizer can be quite helpful. Keep track of your bills, and file them with as much organization as possible.

2. Be Proactive
Sometimes the best way to be successful is to be proactive. Instead of waiting for the bills to pile up, have your checks already written. Anticipate how much certain costs may be and set money aside specifically for that. Just like with some sports, the best defense is a good offense. If you’re being proactive with your personal finance, you’ll be less likely to get caught with not enough money to pay a bill or a pesky late fee. If you’re carrying a credit card balance, do your best to pay more than you need to (it will help you to avoid some higher interest fees later). The same can be said for any loans you may be paying off. Paying more than what is required can really help and get rid of loans faster.

3. Don’t Fall Behind
If you’re not being proactive, then you best not be falling behind. Make sure to stay with your bills and keep track of your finances well. Falling behind is terrible because it usually leads to falling further behind. Once the bills start mounting, they don’t stop, which spells trouble for anyone. Do whatever you can to make sure you at least stay with the bills, on-pace, and on time. If you are organized and use some of the other tips here, you shouldn’t fall behind.

4. Seek Advice if Needed
Sometimes we all need a little friendly advice or help. If you are stuck on how to deal with a certain financial situation, never be afraid to ask a friend or family member for advice. If things are bad enough, you should also consider professional financial advice. However, I feel it’s always a good idea to only seek professional help if nothing else can be done and it is a last resort. If you are new to some things (such as buying a house, financing an education, etc) then you would be crazy to not seek some advice. You can learn a lot from people who have been through things before. Find out about other’s mistakes so you don’t repeat them. Remember, it’s not smart to forego seeking advice because of pride or laziness.

5. Be Prepared for Anything
Personal finance management can be organized and planned for, but sometimes, things just happen. You may get in a car accident, a breadwinner could be fired, a check could bounce, etc. Be prepared for anything. Some of the most successful people in personal finance management often have emergency funds. Create a special account for any emergency bills that might come up (you could also throw money under a mattress, or in a cookie jar, but it won’t earn interest that way). If you periodically put a part of your paycheck in that fund, you’ll find that it will grow rather quickly. It never, ever hurts to be over-cautious. You’ll be extremely thankful when you have a nice safety fund available when you really need it.

6. If Possible, Pay Bills Online
This is just my personal preference, and of course you can stick with checks if you prefer. However, I find that paying bills online is faster, easier, and helps me stay more organized. Rather than trying to mail checks and anticipate when they will arrive, you can often pay bills the very same day. I find that paying bills online helps me avoid pesky late fees that can really add up. Of course, you still have to be slightly proactive, even with online statements and such, because there’s nothing worse than the Internet crashing when you have a bill due that same day.

7. Don’t Panic
This last piece of advice can extend into a lot of other areas in anyone’s life. Even if things seem like they can’t get any worse, it never helps to panic. If you are behind, or some unforeseen financial issues arise that you weren’t prepared for, remember that nothing can be accomplished if you panic. Always be calm and think through the options, and discuss things with anyone else involved. Remember to seek advice if you feel it’s needed, and follow that advice! Nothing gets accomplished when you don’t have a clear head, so don’t panic if your financial management isn’t working out as planned. No matter how broken things may seem, they can almost always be fixed.

So there are seven tips that should at least help with personal financial management. Nothing is foolproof, and most people have had their fair share of financial pitfalls. However, if you stay organized, don’t panic, stay ahead, and are prepared, you should have success in managing your personal finances.

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Comments (14)
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14 Existing Comments
  1. Tom said:
    on May 8th at 12:57 pm

    I think #3 is most important. The key to not falling behind is not buying what you can’t afford. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Other than a house or education very few things are worth going in debt for. Especially credit card debt.

  2. Cash The Checks said:
    on May 8th at 05:57 pm

    Paying your bills online is a great tip. I don’t waste time anymore with finding bills, writing checks and sending mail. I just set it up for automatic payments and forget about it.

  3. Dan S. said:
    on May 8th at 09:28 pm

    Good tips. I agree with Tom. You will never “get behind” on bills if you don’t buy something you can’t afford (i.e. pay for it). Our definition of “afford” in this culture has unfortunately shifted from “paying cash at time of purchase” to “being able to make the monthly payment”. It’s sad really. STICK TO a weekly WRITTEN budget, tell your kids “No” more, have a good 6-month emergency fund, learn to find pleasure in other ways than buying “stuff”, and be faithful to God and you will prosper. You may not have the fanciest car on the block but you will be the only one who actually OWNS it!

  4. ChristianPF said:
    on May 9th at 02:15 am

    I like the first one – getting organized in your financial life and every other area is one of the most important steps to succeeding…

  5. hank said:
    on May 9th at 05:26 am

    I am voting for tip number 2. If you aren’t proactive nothing will get done. I work in a business where reactive just doesn’t work in getting ANYTHING done. Take charge and you’ll go far… Good post!

  6. fathersez said:
    on May 9th at 06:57 am

    Good list. I join Hank and ChristianPF in rooting for Tips 1 and 2. These tips will give us a direction and purpose and if that direction is right, eventually the longest and toughest journey will come to an end.

    Regards

  7. Nick G said:
    on May 11th at 06:35 pm

    I am voting for tip number 2 also. Staying proactive in your finances will save you a lot of worrying in the future. You need to have money put away in cases of emergency or you will be paying for it (in the form of interest) in the future.

  8. Larry Hopkins said:
    on May 11th at 09:31 pm

    Good preface to a Sophomore High School Consumer Economics course. All the suggestions were sophomoric, except for the advice to use online banking.

  9. ideal4investors said:
    on May 17th at 12:03 am

    I love paying my bills online. I can’t remember the last time I wrote an actual check. However, you have to be very careful about the time your payment is posted. In some cases, I have had to pay a late fee because the water company didn’t post my payment until the afternoon, etc. I would pay all bills one day early to avoid this.

  10. Vinny said:
    on July 2nd at 12:45 am

    I can’t remember the last time I wrote out a check either. All my stuff gets paid automatically every month.

  11. Good tips! Thanks for posting on Life Lessons of a Military Wife Carnival #10!. Please be sure to stop by above and read all the other great articles!

  12. finanças said:
    on November 23rd at 09:24 am

    seem to be the best advice.nice artikel,although i’m just able to read it by google translate.

  13. Steve said:
    on May 17th at 08:29 am

    Hi,
    Writing down my expenses worked for all but 2 hours for me so I faiIed at my first couple of attempts.
    I found my bank offers CSV format. So I searched on the web and found a few programs that upload my bank details into a application for personal tracking and trending.
    Currently I am using a program called bank2budget free trial at http://www.bank2budget.com and it looks good so far. It offers my bank format so you would have to check to see if your bank is offered.
    Easy recording is the secret to really knowing where we spend our money and harnessing our spending to create savings.
    Good luck to us all.

  14. Jerry said:
    on October 30th at 07:50 am

    We trialed that tool and bought it. Now it has been kind of fun waiting for the end of the month seeing how much we can show net gain in our activity. Also we contacted the company and they created an application specific to our business for $120. Amazing how much other companies were asking for. We appreciate your tip and could not be more happy.