You don’t need a degree in finance, or a deep understanding of the world market, to manage your money. Now you can manage almost everything to do with your money online with a few simple keystrokes. Welcome to the future. All you really need to manage your finances properly is a little discipline when it comes to keeping track and a little self-control when it comes to spending.
One of the best ways to start managing your money online is to check your balance(s) every day. Keep track of all of your transactions, everything from monthly fixed expenses like rent or utilities to fluctuating expenses like gas and groceries. Now there is no more waiting for checks to clear and therefore less risk that you might overdraw your account. Bank apps give us the ability to track transactions in real time, pay bills online and even deposit checks without having to visit a physical branch.
Review Your Finances
The best way to manage your money online is to take a hard look at your finances. The money coming in versus the money going out and where exactly is it going? What are your sources of income, salary, tips, commissions, stock dividends, or returns on any other investments for the past year? Now, write down all of your expenses. Start with your monthly bills like rent, utilities, cell phone, insurance, car payment. Next average out your inconsistent expenses like food and gas. You should also try to keep something set aside for unexpected expenses like car repairs.
Make a Budget
Once you have established a reasonable monthly budget and have a solid picture of your income and expenses, then you’ll know how much disposable income you’re left with. Remember to check your balances frequently and before making purchases, especially when you have transactions pending like automatic bill pay. Automatic bill paying through your bank or payees’ website is a great way to help keep your finances on track and build your credit. Even if you don’t have a good credit history or much of one at all, just paying your bills on time shows credit scoring agencies that you’re a good risk when it comes to credit cards or loans.
Now that you’ve established a reasonable budget and you have developed good online banking skills, its time to work on your savings habits by taking a hard look at your spending habits. More often than not, it’s the smaller expenses that add up faster than the big ones. Thirty dollars a week for coffee, sixty on gas, or forty on take-out meals adds up fast. So, see where you can cut back a bit and save it instead. Pack a lunch or by a thermos and take coffee from home instead of paying five bucks for some caffeinated concoction most of us can’t pronounce. Save wherever you can. Make it a game and before you know it, you’ll actually see the difference in yourself and the size of your savings.
The internet gives us all access to almost unlimited information and online banking has revolutionized the way the average person can control their finances. Everything from tracking transactions and depositing checks to making investments is at your fingertips. Just stay informed about your own finances even if, at times, it may feel like a part time job. It’s one that will pay off if you stay the course.