Skip To Content

Six Simple Ways to Manage Your Money

You’ve made significant strides professionally and personally. Maybe you’ve landed your dream job, started a family, or moved to a new city. But is your checking account reflecting your success? If not, it could be time to implement a new approach to managing your money. Although it may seem like a daunting task, implementing the following tools and tips can help you better align your money with your life.

1. Budget Review: Know Where Your Money Goes

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to finances. Your first step is taking a thorough look at your checking account to create a realistic budget. Begin with your hard-earned paycheck. Then consider routine deductions like your car payment, gas, rent/mortgage payment, utilities, insurance, food, phone, streaming services, etc.

Once you’ve identified your base expenses, see how much money remains for splurges on clothing, entertainment, and other stuff you want (but may not need). And don’t forget savings, too. Getting a firm grasp on your financial situation will make it much easier to set doable goals. Be honest with yourself about where your money goes.

2. Ask for Help: Find a Trusted Source of Advice

Financial planning may seem overwhelming, and discussing money can be tough. But don’t be afraid to reach out to a trusted (and financially stable) relative, friend, or mentor to talk about your situation. The person you connect with should be smart with their money. It’s likely that they’ve been in a similar place as you, and therefore could offer wisdom in reaching your financial goals. Involving another person in goal setting could help you achieve what you set out to do1.

If the time is right, enlist the help of a reputable financial advisor. Forty-six percent of millennials don’t know the ins and outs of a financial advisor’s role, so you’re not alone if you’ve never approached one2. Do some research first. Investigate options in your area.

3. Use Smart Tools: Take Advantage of Technology

Turn your technology into money-saving tools. It’s easy to check your last five transactions on your smart watch or get extra help keeping track of (and saving) your money with trusted apps that log your transactions, analyze your spending patterns, and help you set savings goals3.

You also can use technology to reduce your spending. First, try to never pay full price for an item. There are plenty of deal websites and apps available, so search for available coupons whenever you decide to make a purchase. Taking the time to look for deals may discourage you from an impulse buy.

If you do find yourself moving toward a spur-of-the-moment purchase, make it less convenient to spend by blocking certain websites, making all your purchases as a guest, or bookmarking the link for later. Once the initial wow-factor wears off, it’ll be less likely that you’ll make the purchase4.

4. Be Proactive: Set Your Account Up for Success

There are tools you can use within your account to stay aware of your money flow and save a few dollars. You won’t miss what you don’t see, so set up automatic transactions to store away money (especially if you get a raise or bonus). In the long run, it’ll be easier to save if you spend below your means by automatically displacing money in your account5.

If you find yourself overspending, set up alerts on your phone in advance so you know the status on your available funds. Slip-ups occasionally happen and that’s ok, but this is a good way to avoid overdrafts and spending outside of your limit6.

5. Slow Your Roll: Moderation is Key

We all have our guilty pleasures. Just be realistic and plan for them in moderation. You don’t have to go cold turkey on eating out, shopping, or vacations, but prioritize your “fun” spending to balance it with your needed expenses7.

A few suggestions:

  • Eat before getting together with friends so it’s less tempting to dine out.
  • Unsubscribe from your favorite store’s emails so you aren’t tempted to click on the latest deal.
  • Decide what you can’t live without and work it into your budget.

It all about making small but helpful changes to resist temptation.

6. Build Your Savings: Contribute to Your Future

Think about your future self when considering the present state of your checking account. If you’re unhappy with the state of your current spending, make adjustments now so you won’t feel the same way when you’re in your 40s and beyond. That means you should be contributing to your retirement, whether a 401k, Roth IRA, or another plan that is right for you8. Financial professionals can help you work toward a brighter financial future, but know that you have to plan for your future success.

A little goes a long way with saving, so squirrel away those dollars and cents where you can. Set a small goal, like buying new tires or saving 5% of your annual income, and work from there.

One last bit of encouragement: Remember your checking account doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety. You’ll be able to maintain a healthy account if you know what you’re working with, start small, and have accountability.