YOUR SOUTHERN MARYLAND COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION
SEVEN STEPS TO BETTER MONEY MANAGEMENT
- Calculate your Net Income.
Know all your sources of income after deductions, like income taxes and 401k, are removed. This number ultimately determines what you can spend each month.
- Create a Personal Budget.
A budget is your roadmap for spending and is a tool to help you achieve your financial goals. Save your receipts and take the time to add up all of your expenses for a month. Subtract your expenses from your Net Income, calculated in Step 1. If the result is a positive number, then you are living within the limits of your income. If the result is a negative number, your expenses are exceeding your income. Look for non-essential expenses that you can reduce and recalculate. Ask yourself if each expense is a “want” or a “need,” and try to minimize spending on the “wants.” Most importantly, once you create a budget, stick with it. Make adjustments, as necessary. Having a budget will allow you to control your money rather than your money controlling you. Use the links below to help build your personal budget.
- Balance your Checkbook.
The balance in your checkbook is a critical number in money management because it allows you to know exactly how much money currently you have to save or spend. Keeping an accurate checkbook register also allows you to review where you spend your money. Be sure to record all transactions, including ATM/Visa Check Card transactions, checks, and deposits. Click here for assistance with balancing your checkbook.
- Minimize your Use of Credit Cards.
Credit card debt is an easy trap to fall into. The best way to avoid this trap is to avoid using credit cards altogether. If you like the convenience of a credit card, consider getting a debit card instead. Debit cards are accepted at most places that accept credit cards. The difference is that the expense is automatically deducted from your checking account balance, which reduces your urge to spend more than you have. Be sure to track each debit card transaction in your checkbook ledger, just like you would if you wrote a check.
- Pay Down Your Debt.
If you have Credit Card debt or other debts, pay the maximum to your highest interest rate debts first and the minimum on lower interest debts to pay debts faster.
- Establish Savings.
Pay yourself, first. When you pay your monthly bills, write a check to yourself and put it in your savings accounts. If you get your paycheck deposited automatically, set up a payroll transfer at Cedar Point, or ask your employer about having a portion of your paycheck deposited to your savings account.
- Know Your Credit History.
Credit reporting agencies collect data regarding your credit repayment history and sell this information to lending agencies. If your report shows that you are late paying bills, have maximized lines of credit, or have bankruptcies or other collection activities, this will negatively impact your ability to get credit.
If you find incorrect information in your credit report, contact the credit reporting agency. They are required to investigate the information within 30 days and delete the information if it cannot be verified. Your rights are further described in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Click here* to find a summary of those rights.
Money Management Tools
Balancing Your Checkbook
Protecting Yourself from Overdraft and Bounced-Check Fees
Information from the Federal Reserve Board to help you avoid overdraft and bounced-check fees.
PowerPay will give you the tools to develop a personalized, self-directed debt elimination plan
National Foundation for Credit Counseling*
As the nation's largest financial counseling organization, the NFCC Member Agency Network includes more than 600 community-based offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. NFCC Member Agencies provide financial counseling and education to millions of consumers each year in person, over the phone, or on line. To locate an NFCC Member Agency in your area call 800-388-2227. Para ayuda en Español Ilama al 800-682-9832.
*Cedar Point is not responsible for the content or update of this alternate site.
The privacy and security policies may differ from those practiced by Cedar Point.
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