The roof of your house suddenly springs a leak. The kids need new shoes, again. Your credit card payment is due tomorrow, and oh yeah, your boss just told you no one’s getting a pay increase this year after all.
Finances can get overwhelming fast. One minute you just got paid and you think you’re doing fine, and the next you’re wondering where all your money went.
If you’re wondering how to stay on top of your budget, here are some tips from the pros: people who’ve been doing a lot with a little for a long time. These secrets come from household managers and regular people, not finance experts. Because after all, they’re the ones who really know what it takes to run a home and stay under a budget – not corporate types and CEOs who regularly blow their budgets.
Here are the top tips from budgeting experts, so you’ll never come up short at the end of the month again:
• Sign up for automatic payments. This is a great way to make sure you never end up paying a late fee again, as well as a good way to plan for when your payments will come out of your account. As long as you have a good idea of how much the bill will be for, and you line up the payment with the days you are paid, or expect to have money deposited into your account, you should not be in danger of having a payment returned for lack of sufficient funds.
• Maximize your credit card rewards. Sign up for a good cash back credit card and pay for everything you can using the card. That way you’ll earn the maximum number of points or percentage of cash back. It’s like getting money for free, so even if it’s only 1% of every dollar spent, there’s no reason not to take advantage and get every penny back that you can.
• Transfer a balance. If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, apply for a balance transfer with a 0% offer for the first six months or year. This will allow you to pay your debt off faster and save you money on interest. Being debt-free will also give you some more wiggle room in your budget, so you can spend that money on more important things.