By Tracie Fobes
Mark Cuban. Warren Buffett. Michael Bloomberg. Most of us will never be as rich as the world’s wealthiest billionaires, but we can still learn from their smart money habits.
From ditching debt to paying bills on time, fiscally savvy folks have developed good habits and plans that keep them in financial shape. And with a little effort, you too can master their tricks for managing money.
If you’re looking to break bad money habits and get on more solid financial footing, following these fiscal tips from the pros.
HAVE A WRITTEN BUDGET
Many people have a budget, sort of. They know who they have to pay each month and how much. However, they don’t have anything in writing.
When you have a written budget, you see exactly where your money is going. Best of all, you can direct your money where you want it to go. You get to decide what you want to save and how much you will spend on expenses like groceries.
Your budget is your roadmap to financial success, so make sure you include every single expense. Don’t forget about that coffee you grab on the way to work or the money you spend on parking every day.
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
Late bill payments are serious budget busters. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure bills are paid on time. Setting up automatic payments is one of the many successful habits employed by financial pros. You can also set up alerts on your phone or use a calendar on the wall to note due dates.
When you pay your bills on time, you show you are responsible and avoid late fees being tacked on to the amount you owe.
AVOID IMMEDIATE SATISFACTION
It can be tempting when you are shopping to pick up that new bag or those cute shoes. However, do you need them? Will buying them truly make you happy? Why do you feel you want to buy them?
Asking yourself these questions can help you avoid emotional purchases, which often lead to buyer’s remorse.
If you do want to make a purchase, one of the best financial habits to use is the 24-hour rule. Go home, think about the item and check your budget. If 24 hours later you still really want it and can afford it, go ahead and spend the cash.
DO NOT USE CREDIT OR DEBIT CARDS
Using cash is one of the best ways to ensure you are financially fit. Even if you use credit cards in the right way and pay them off every month, you might still be overspending.
For instance, if you have only $100 to spend on groceries, you can’t spend $101 if you use cash. However, if you are using plastic, you can. It is just too easy to spend more than you anticipated when you carry credit cards.
Sticking with cash will ensure you never spend more than you have budgeted because it is impossible to do so.
KEEP THE LINES OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
My husband and I have regular budget meetings. We look over our finances, and we check our spending. It helps us both know where we are financially at all times.
You need communication in all areas of a relationship, including finances. Never hide money or spending from your partner, as these habits lead to anger and fighting.
For best results, make time for at least a monthly meeting and add the event to both your calendars so you don’t forget.