Do you wish you had some breathing room when it comes to your finances? If so, you're not alone. Most studies have shown that over 70% of American workers say they're living from paycheck to paycheck.
So what is the first step you can take to improve your situation? Create a personal or family budget so you can control your spending and find ways to save money for a rainy day.
Get started by writing down your monthly income in one column. Then, make a list of all your bills/expenses. While some fixed expenses, such as rent payments, can't be controlled, many other expenses can be trimmed. That's why it's important to make a list of the other ways you spend your money throughout the month to see what kinds of purchases you are making that you could live without.
Once you make up your mind to shape up your personal finances, here are some other great tips to follow.
Consider taking your lunch to work instead of eating out. Cook more at home and use coupons when you go grocery shopping. It's also smart to create a grocery list to limit impulse buying. Don't buy something just because it's on sale.
Carry a small amount of cash in your wallet to further limit your spending. If you don't have a checking account, be sure and get one and use it as a tool to track expenses. Don't use an ATM receipt or ledger balance as permission to spend because these balances aren't always up to date. You need to keep track of which checks you have written and which will be clearing your account so you won't be surprised by any overdraft fees.
Pay bills on time whenever possible to avoid late fees.
If you're trying to get out of debt, consider paying off smaller debts first and then work your way up to the larger ones.
Shop around to get the best deal on big-ticket items like cars and appliances. If your vehicle is a gas guzzler, consider getting something more fuel-efficient.
It's also smart to shop home and auto insurance prices to make sure that your monthly premiums are as affordable as possible.
When it comes to a savings account, start small with even $5 or $10. Our Bank even has a Smart Savings Transfer feature that can be added to your checking account so that every time you make a point-of-sale transaction with your CNB Debit Card, the amount of purchase will be rounded up to the next whole dollar amount, and the excess amount will be transferred into your savings account. As you develop smart savings habits, you will be in a better position when some unexpected expense comes your way, such as a car repair or unexpected medical bill.
It's also never too early to start thinking about your goals for the future. For example, when do you want to retire, and how often do you want to travel? How much will you need to save for sending your children to college?
The best news of all is that Citizens National Bank has bankers who care about your personal financial success, and who will be glad to spend time with you and help you put together a plan of action. With good advice, you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals. You can do it!