How to be more Efficient with your Money

Money management is not just for businesspeople. Each person can learn to become more efficient with their funds. It is basically all about cash flow. You need to pay attention and to know exactly what is coming in and what is going out. You can then plan and budget for your individual needs. A budget is the first thing to figure out for yourself.

There are many good online devices and calculators to set up personal budgets. Some of the easier ones are Money & Stuff, Frugal Living and Printable worksheets are available at Dollar Times. There is even one geared to various ages, especially kids, called Money & Stuff. Or, you can be efficient with your money by employing the old cookie jar technique. Have a jar or an envelope for each major expense, including Fun. As your paycheck or income arrives, set the appropriate amounts aside, targeting due dates for things like mortgages or rent, insurance, cars, utilities, food, holidays, vacations, and the all-important savings.

Banks and credit unions often have hand-outs or brochures about budgeting. And ING Direct, the online bank, has an education division to teach about money management called Tips and Tools, with a special section for kids. All these crutches can help you learn to navigate your finances with efficiency, but you must want to take the time to keep a handle on your money. Dedicate one evening a week to review your cash flow, pay bills twice a month or on some regular schedule, and have quarterly overall reviews of your finances for the year, including investments and taxes.

That dreaded tax-time will be much easier when you keep those records organized. Have an accordion file or a file cabinet with folders for all your papers and receipts. Keep each year separate. You can look back and know roughly what to expect for the next year, noting inflation or changes in providers or residence. You can learn more about averages and how much to plan for certain types of expenses through articles and blogs like On The Money by CNBC.

Generally, efficiency is utilizing what you have and making it go further. Try to stay out of debt, shop only for what you need, and learn to find less expensive alternatives for basics. There are many support groups and books available. Learn to use your public library for information rather than subscriptions or buying books. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Frugal living is a lifestyle choice, not necessarily one of deprivation. You can learn to splurge on quality that will last, and conserve on those silly extra expenses we all get overwhelmed with by advertising hype.

If you take time to get organized, set your goals, then plan and stick to a budget, you will find greater efficiency in money matters. With all that efficiency comes tremendous relief, then relaxation and happiness. Money is only a tool, one you can learn to use!