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Start Showing Your Finances Who’s Boss

With a few simple steps, you can be on your way to improving your money situation

Maybe you’ve been putting off getting organized with your money. But there’s no time like the present. Take on just a few of these strategies this week, and you’ll be well on your way to sleeping better at night. It’s okay to start small, and put one foot in front of the other. You deserve to feel more financially in control!

Here are some suggestions for ways to begin managing your money more wisely:

Keep your money separate

Use one bank account for the money you need to cover basic expenses, and another for what’s left over. This makes it easier to decide what to do with that extra amount: maybe save it, put it towards a trip or vacation, or use it to chip away at that credit card debt. You’ll feel more in control if you have things separated out instead of all in one account.

Challenge yourself to a savings plan

Pick an amount of money that you spend each week on something you enjoy but don’t have to have—maybe that latte in the afternoon—and put that amount (even if it’s only $5/week) into a savings account. Over the course of a year, that $5/week turns into $240. It’s a nice start to a savings plan, and it gets you into the habit of saving routinely. If you need the discipline, write yourself a check each month into that account, or—even better—have your bank automatically withdraw it into savings. Then you’re saving without even thinking about it.

Make those credit cards work for you

A lot of us use credit cards week in and week out for our expenses. This can be a good way to rack up some points, as long as you’re good about paying that credit card bill in full every month. You don’t want to pay interest on any balances you carry over from one month to the next. Pick a credit card with a good points reward program. Then you can cash these points in for travel, merchandise, or even gift cards.

Get rid of the stuff that’s sitting around

Keeping all those DVDs, CDs, textbooks, and clothes isn’t just bad feng shui—they’re taking up space when they could be bringing in extra cash! There are lots of places to sell them, even if you’re not up to posting stuff on eBay or Craigslist. Some second-hand stores will sell things on consignment, which means you get reimbursed once the store sells them. Things you donate to Goodwill or another charity can mean a deduction on your taxes.

Guard against identity theft

There are free identity protection services that help you steer clear from scammers. Look into one of these and make sure no one’s opening an account in your name without you knowing it. You’ll get alerts about any credit applications that might be fraudulent. You can also freeze your credit report until you get everything sorted out.

After taking a couple of steps to shore up your finances, we’re sure that you’ll feel more empowered. Spending a few hours each week researching and putting new measures into place is a great investment in you and your future. You deserve it!

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This article is part of the Branford Hall Career Institute’s weekly blog, which is devoted to helping our students have satisfying, meaningful lives personally and professionally. Interested in learning more about Branford Hall? Feel free to schedule a tour or request more information.

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