If you find yourself nervously checking your balance before payday, then perhaps its time to make some changes. Before you do, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do I know where my money is going?
Most of us don't bother tracking how we're spending money. Sometimes we don't realize our grocery expenses or utility bills have suddenly skyrocketed. Using an online personal financial management tool to automatically track your spending - www.Mint.com and www.wesabe.com. allows you to figure out where money is going with minimal effort.
2. Am I focusing too much on the month, instead of the year?
Research suggests that people often fall victim to forgetfulness when budgeting bypass the month. They tend to overlook unexpected and one- time expenses such as car repairs or gifts. But when people budget by the year,they tend to factor in those costs.
3.Do I do something everyday that wastes money?
It might be a cab ride, lunches, or a six pack of beer.These type of small, daily expenditures add up, and by the end of the month, you could be out $100 or more.
4. Do I know my weakness?
Almost everyone has one. It might be recharge cards, fancy jeans ,or nice dinners. Perhaps it's simply buying more than you need when your are out running errands. Take a ' loyal friend with you on shopping trips to remind you not to overspend or carry a stop watch with you on shopping trips.
5. Am I saving too much?
This might sound counter- intuitive. But if you are going into debt to fund your lifestyle and you've already cut back wherever possible, then it's time to look at how much money you are funneling into your 401k.
6. Is my relationship hurting my bank account?
Even if you' re on top of your finances, your bank account won't reflect it unless your significant other is also on board. If you share credit, in the form of credit cards, auto loans or rents, then your late payment from your partner can also ding into your own credit report. Marriage can intertwine your financial lives even further. Before tying the knot, be sure to review each other's credit histories, talk about whether you prefer joint or seperate accounts, and make sure you are familiar with each other's long term financial goals.