When you were a child or young adult, there's a good chance that one of the major lessons you learned from a parent is the value of a dollar. As you get old enough to start managing your own bills and other living expenses, it's important to set your own financial goals to help protect your future.
Budget Your Money
Creating a budget will help you to identify where your money goes after you receive your paycheck. It will take a few months to get a comfortable average, but once you identify how much money you need for each bill during the month, you can start to eliminate the money drains that often cost you throughout the year. You will also have a good idea of what is left over after paying the necessities. All work and no play can lead to a very dull life, though. If possible, try to set aside a small amount each month so that you can enjoy yourself. Even if it's only $10 dollars to see a movie, think of it as a reward for staying on track.
Build Your Savings
It can be difficult, at times, to have the money to pay off every bill. That's expected, especially during certain months when your utilities may spike. It is important, however, to get in the habit of putting a small percentage of your income into a savings account. Set a percentage you want to put aside each month, and deposit it in the bank every payday. There will likely be some months when you can save larger amounts, which helps offset the months when you can't save the usual amount.
Manage Your Spending
When you start to create your budget, take a good look at how you spend your money. Keep all of your receipts and identify your money drains. If you notice that four out of five work days you stop at the local coffee shop, start carrying a travel mug of coffee that you've brewed at home. Instead of spending what you normally would on coffee every day, stick that money in your savings account instead. This will also help you learn how to cut spending in other areas. If a good portion of your earnings goes towards gas every month, maybe start a carpool and share the expense.
Simple goals that are set when you first start taking care of your finances can turn into lifelong habits that will allow you to live comfortably once you reach retirement age. It's never too early to start setting good financial goals.
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