We all have money issues - from increasing savings, to getting out of debt, to fulfilling mortgage payments. It can be overwhelming but sometimes it's only a matter of keeping everything organized.
To start being in control of your personal finances, here are 10 steps for your own monthly money routine.
1. Review your bank accounts - Make it a habit to regularly log-in to your online bank accounts. Your goal is to get an accurate idea of how much money you really have. Review your transaction history to see where your money goes. Also, secure your account's security by constantly updating passwords. BONUS: It is now easier with many banks offering online transactions.
2. Pay monthly bills on time – Most bills, like rent and electricity, have specific billing cycles and due dates. Save yourself from the hassle of paying bills one at a time and the risk of late payments that incur penalties. Choose a day to take care of everything all at once. I reserve the 25th of each month to do thi. BONUS: Take advantage of online bills payment so you can save important receipts in your computer.
3. Make a list of your expected income – If there’s one thing this crisis taught us, it’s the value of having a side hustle. Make your extra income count by listing them alongside your regular income. If everything adds up, know where all your hard-earned income goes even before they come.
4. Jot down common expenses for the next month – Examples of common monthly expenses are electricity, internet, and water bills. Don’t forget non-utility expenses like condominium dues, rent, and if you expect one-off expenses like your car registration or license renewal.
5. Pay yourself – Despite the urgency of the present, never forget to plan for the future. Put a certain amount for your savings and investment goals. How much should you save? How much should you invest this month? BONUS: Compute the cost of your future needs with the Inflation Calculator. If you have insurance premiums, stay on top of their due dates too.
6. Go back to your goals – Use a virtual tracker to see how close you are to achieving your financial goals, like eliminating debt or starting an emergency fund. Put this on your planner or mobile phone as a reminder why you work hard. Being focused will encourage you to stick to your goal. BONUS: Don’t have goals? Use this Planner to identify your financial goals.
7. Create a budget for daily and weekly expenses – When creating a budget, be honest and realistic. Give yourself some buffer. After knowing your numbers, that’s when you can decide how much to spend for essentials like groceries and transportation. BONUS: If you master this, you can even sneak in some some funds for discretionary spending like entertainment.
8. Track your actual expenses – Dedicate a page on your planner or journal for listing down your actual expenses. Writing down expenses incurred at the end of each day works best. At the end of each month, you will sum up all your actual expenses and compare it against your budget.
9. Set money challenges and tasks to improve your finances – Can you hold off ordering food delivery for an entire month? How about online shopping? Set up a fun monthly money challenge for yourself. You'd be surprised at how strong your determination multiplies once saving money is gamified. BONUS: You can even organize money challenges for family and friends
10. Upgrade your game with a Financial Advisor – Lastly, review how you fared financially at the end of the month. Did you stick to your budget? Did you overspend on weekly expenses? Maybe you earned more this month and are now closer to your goal? Consider connecting with a financial advisor. This will help you appreciate your efforts and be more motivated to stick to this monthly money routine.
Creating a monthly money routine will help you work your way out of financial woes and build good financial habits for a brighter future. You may find yourself skipping or adding your own steps based on what fits your situation. What does your money routine look like? Share your ideas with us by posting a comment or sharing this post with others!