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Practical tips on managing your money

Monique Todd

Many of us sometimes have challenges in managing our money. This challenge largely stems from our inability to control our spending habits. No need to sink into a slump, as there are simple things you can do to get a handle on your spending. Here are a few simple guidelines you can use to help you better manage your money.

Create your budget
Your budget should list all expenditure on goods and/or services over a period of time, no matter how minimal the item. Record an amount for miscellaneous expenses to prepare for the unexpected. Stick to your budget, do not exceed it.

Spend within your means
Living from pay cheque to pay cheque is something no one wants to do. The solution? Spend what you can afford. Spending within your means not only alleviates stress, but also allows you to place excess funds in savings and investment products.

Monitor your ATM withdrawals
Individuals should plan for the amount of money they need to spend in a particular week and withdraw just that amount. If there is any left over, put it to your savings account.

Avoid impulse buying
Impulse buying occurs when we buy things that we do not plan to buy or do not need. One of the best ways to avoid this type of buying is to make a shopping list and stick to it. Only look for the items you have on your list, pick them up and leave the store.

Have two separate accounts
Seek to put the amount of money you will need to cover your monthly expenses in a regular savings account. Then, place the amount left over to an account that will earn substantial interest over the medium to long term.

Keep track of your expenditure
This should be done on a daily or weekly basis. It will give you the opportunity to see if you are on track with your budget. It will also allow you to adjust for any expenses that may have gone above your budget amount.

Start small
Many experts suggest that you put aside at least 10 per cent of your income for savings. "That doesn't make sense", is the first thought that may come to your mind. However, the fact is, this will help you to establish a long-term savings habit.

Set up an investment plan
If you feel you lack the discipline to put aside an amount for savings, try setting up an automatic savings or investment plan. This way, an established percentage, of your choice, will be deducted from your income before you are able to lay hands on it.

Monique Todd is director of wealth marketing at Scotia DBG.
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