Ten Personal Finance Habits to Master

Scott McEachern |

Getting control of your finances can be an overwhelming task. Start by implementing these 10 strategies into your routine and by making small changes on a daily basis, you'll start to notice changes.

1.Track your income and expenses.

Just like a diet, you’ve got to know your intakes and outputs if you want to make adjustments. There are plenty of apps on your phone to help track and tally your expenses. If your old school, use paper and pen. There’s really no excuse not to, especially if you are committed to getting control of your spending.

2. Be careful not to overspend on gifts.

Christmas is only six months away. A lot of people start buying gifts now and spread out their spending over the next six months. Just avoid getting caught in the trap of spending too much! Also, avoid buying gift cards for gifts. Use your creativity and thoughtfulness to come up with an ideal gift!

3. Pay attention to mortgage interest rates.

The biggest purchase you will likely make in your life is your home. The interest expense alone will add up to tens of thousands of dollars over a mortgage lifetime. It is important to pay attention to interest rates, even after you buy a home. There may be refinance opportunities that could save you thousands of dollars!

4. Never buying anything on impulse.

Create a shopping list and stick to it. Nice and simple. Oh, and don't let Amazon or your phone remember your credit card number - it makes spending too easy!

5. Save part of your income for retirement.

The personal finance industry has so many different benchmarks and ideals for saving, but here’s the key: start today with whatever you feel comfortable with. Review this amount in six months. You’ll be amazed how painless automatic saving is once you start.

6. Keeping the money in your wallet to a minimum.

If your eyes have easy access to cash, you’re more likely to spend it. I always keep a $20 bill in my wallet in case somewhere doesn’t accept debit/credit.

7. Spend less than you earn every month.

This comes back to point #1. Track, review, adjust, repeat.

8. Plan your meals in advance.

Have you ever looked at your monthly grocery bills and noticed some months are way higher than others? I bet if you looked at your green bin that month, you’ll realize you tossed out more food than normal too. Planning meals leads to lower bills and less waste.

9.  Review your credit card statements for errors and erroneous charges.

No one liked paying more than they should and neither should you. Be sure to review monthly and protect yourself from errors and ID fraud.

10. Pay your bills on time.

Stop paying late fees and stop paying extra interest. If you want to give away your money, at least donate it to charity or the needy!