7. Save 10 to 15 percent for retirement

Once you understand your expenses and income and have a firm understanding of the money coming in and out of your life, it’s time to take some additional steps to best manage your money.

4. Consolidate your debt

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Debt, the dreaded word. No one likes debt. No one. And most people that need help managing money actually need help getting out of debt. Sound familiar? If you are like the majority of Americans (

The first thing to do is to get it under control and work on getting rid of it. If you have credit card debts, student loans, and other debts; look to consolidate them and try to get the lowest interest rate possible.

Again, its all about taking the proper steps to control your money. There are options out there that allow you to combine several unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans, and payday loans, into one bill rather than pay them individually.

If you only have a single credit card debt and are on a tight budget, try paying at least the minimum amount as soon as you get the credit card bill. Then, if your finances permit it, and you come across some more money, try to make the same payment a few weeks later.

5. Slash or remove unnecessary expenses

Big fan of Starbucks? If you are buying a Venti Caffe Latte every day (as delicious as they are) that’s around $4 out of your wallet. Multiply that out and you could be spending about $1,400 a year just on that. Maybe, just maybe, consider making your own blend at home to pinch those pennies?

Paying for a gym membership but doing yoga in your backyard? Cancel it. Think long and hard of other memberships, subscriptions, accounts that you are paying for but could live without.

Remember, the idea is to learn how to manage your finances better by taking everything and every penny into account.

So, do some spring cleaning and slash expenses wherever you see an opportunity and especially if it’s something that doesn’t affect your life to a great extent.

6. Create an emergency fund

S*** happens and it’s good to be prepared. Emergency funds are an important part of a healthy personal finance plan.

In almost all cases, you shouldn’t touch or take money out of the fund, rather, let it sit there earning interest. If you lose your job or an unfortunate or unexpected expense arises-such as your car breaking down or a tree falling on your roof-this is when you should tap into it.

I know it’s far off, but if you want to be sipping i under a sun umbrella, the sooner you start saving for retirement, the better off you will be in your golden years.

First thing should be to establish a savings target-one that tells you approximately how much you should set aside over time to meet your retirement goals that will allow you to live the sort of lifestyle you envision.

Let’s say you are 21 years old and don’t have anything saved up but just got offered a job paying $40,000 a year. If you save 10% of your income annually then by the retirement age of 67, you will have $2.5 million saved up! Cha-ching!

8. Review and understand your credit report

A credit report is a number roughly between 150 and 900 that serves as a score/grade which factors in your present and past loans, credit cards, mortgages, and any other reported debts.

It serves to determine how creditworthy you are and this score has a direct impact on your future borrowing ability. It’s important that you review and understand your credit report to assure it has all your updated information and to identify any possible errors (it’s estimated that 2-3% of reports contain some errors that could affect your overall score).

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