Its still not too late, however, to reset the trajectory on your familys finances, experts note.
1. Build a Budget
If you havent already done so, create a realistic budget.
Approximately 85% of your income should be set aside for necessities like housing, food, health care and clothing, according to the professionals at VISA USA.
This leaves 15% for entertainmentand something many consumers completely neglect: savings.
2. Distinguish Needs from Wants
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you need in life versus what you want in life.
You need to pay for the antibiotics when the doctor diagnoses a respiratory infection. You dont need to buy the latest movie released on DVD to aid in your recovery.
You need to pay the rent or mortgage. You dont need to buy the lovely accent pillows that beckon to you from the interior design boutique.
Always separate the needs from the wantsparticularly if money is tight.
3. Monitor Your Spending
To see what you really spend each month, keep a running log of all purchasesno matter how smallfor a full month. This will give you a visual display of where your money goes after you deposit your paycheck.
You may find that the $3 cup of coffee that starts each day adds up to $90 a montha pocketbook pincher that may prompt you to buy a pound of coffee beans at the local market and grind them yourself. That $90 blossoms into $1,080 in savings at the end of a year.
4. Create an Emergency Fund
Life is full of surprisesboth positive and negative. If you happen to lose your job or suffer an illness that temporarily sidelines you, you will need cash reserves to support you during the rough months.
In most cases, consumers who find themselves dealing with a financial hardship are unprepared and have not saved for unexpected situations, says Diane Giarratano, director of education for Novadebt, a U.S. financial management service agency, with multiple locations, that provides credit counseling, budgeting and financial education.
5. Educate Yourself
When you attended high school or college, you studied history, mathematics, language and science, but there was probably no course in basic money management.
If you need help in meeting a financial goalwhether its buying a home or reducing your debttake advantage of community resources.
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