If you’re trying to know how to be more responsible with money, you’re already a step ahead of many Americans. The key to making the most of what you earn is to understand where your money is going on a regular basis and to ensure that you’re putting it to use in the most productive manner.
- Set up a budget to help you be responsible with money. Make a list of all the money coming in and where they are going. List all regular expenses such as mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities and transportation. Then add areas that are flexible, including entertainment, clothing and memberships or subscriptions. Add up income and expenses and make sure you’re in the green.
- Start cutting down on non-essential expenses. Take note of this especially if you’re spending more than you’re earning (or even if you’re close enough). To be responsible with money, you first need to make sure you’re living within your means.
- Figure out your debt total. One of the most important considerations when trying to be responsible with money is to make sure you pay back what you owe. Even if you can only make minimum payments right now, make sure you keep them on time. If you can afford to pay more than the minimum, even if it’s just a few dollars, do it. This goes for past debts as well as new bills.
- Start saving. Ideally, you should be putting money aside in a savings account (at least 10 percent of your income) and also starting an emergency fund. An essential step to help you be responsible with money is ensuring that you have enough money saved up so that you don’t need to use your credit cards in an emergency.
- Change your thinking. You’ll never be able to be responsible with money in the long run if you don’t change the way you deal with it. Identify risky behaviors, figure out why you’re in financial trouble and then put together a plan of action. You need to convince yourself that spending less and saving more is the right thing to do before you’ll be able to put it into practice.