How to Manage your Finances Responsibly

At face value, money management is not all that complex.  Most people know that individuals are supposed to spend less than their income so that they can eventually save up for things or keep pace with certain financial obligations such or mortgages or other loans.  Unfortunately, human beings can be a bit impulsive at times and their desires for particular objects can cause them to make poor decisions.  Some people can absorb a few mistakes while others find that certain patterns may cause them to spiral down into a very poor situation.  When people are having a hard financial time, it can be very discouraging.  With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on how to manage finances responsibly. 


For many people, responsible money management starts with a budget.  This entails putting together a list of income sources and regular expenditures.  Some people may do this on paper, while others use spreadsheets, Internet sites, or financial management software such as Quicken.  The key to budgeting is putting in realistic numbers that reflect what people usually spend in a given month. 


Of course, budgeting is just the first step.  The key to managing finances is discipline.  If people put together a budget, they have to stick with it.  Otherwise, it is just a theoretical exercise that is meaningless.  This means that when people spend their budget line item for the month, they have to do their best to stop.  Over time, they should also build a budget that reflects more discipline, rather than simply budgeting based on bad habits in the past.  

Credit cards

In order to make budgeting more manageable, people should do their best to minimize credit card purchases.  The credit card is quite convenient in today’s society, but it can also get people into an immense amount of trouble.  High interest rates and impulsive buying can turn a credit card into a financial nightmare.  Therefore, people should make sure credit cards are under control and in some cases people should get out a pair of scissors and cut them up. 

Have a plan

Finally, responsible financial management is often about having a plan.  This means that people should determine some financial goals and figure out how they are going to meet them over time.  Sometimes this requires getting a bit of outside help in the form of a financial planner.  However, people should determine whether they could come up with their own plan before they pay fees for someone else to do it.  Overall, financial management is about overcoming particular obstacles.  In some cases, the biggest obstacle is the individual.