Here’s How YOU Can Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck
A great article at Rare.us gives some excellent advice on building a personal financial management process for those of us who don’t have a handle on our money. Nearly half of Americans say we’re living paycheck to paycheck, which bodes ill for a country with an aging population and not enough kids to pay taxes to support things like Social Security. The savings rate in America is terrifyingly low; we don’t have enough money to handle sudden expenses or fulfill long-term goals in this country anymore.
The article suggests a three-step process to squeezing that paycheck into producing some money for saving and investment. First, set goals – figure out what the purpose of building a nest egg is. Is it buying a house? Savings for the kids’ college? Knowing what those goals are and keeping them in mind is the best way to stay focused on spending wisely.
Second, obviously, is building a budget. Figure out what’s coming in and how it’s being spent, try to trim the expenses which aren’t needed where possible and then stick to what you come up with.
And third, track everything that comes in or goes out within that plan. The article offers a great array of options to bring technology to bear where this is concerned…
There are great tools available that can help you stick to your budget by tracking how much you’re spending on each area and the progress you’re making toward reaching your bigger goals. And you can do all of it right from your smartphone (or tablet or computer — whatever you prefer).
Level Money keeps track of your spending and gives you a sense of how you’re doing. If you’re looking for a free app to take your financial temperature all the time, this is it. It will probably work best for those who have relatively simple and linear financial lives.
Mint is a very popular app that allows you to track your spending, monitor your credit score and keep up with potential fraud by automatically downloading transactions from bank, credit card and investment accounts. The service allows you to combine all of your finances in one place — giving you a constant overview of your financial status. You can also set up alerts and automatic bill-pay.
Budget Boss is a highly visual app that uses graphs and charts to track your budget and goals. It also estimates your future account balances, depending on your current spending habits. Seeing positive progress and potential savings growth can be a great motivation to stay on track!
Pay Off Debt is a great app for people with multiple debts and who prefer an interface that’s simple, user-friendly and will help organize the details of those debts for you.