10 Tips for Better Money Management

Two things stand in the way of good money management:

  1. We always want more. We often see contentment not in who we are or what we do, but in what we have. The result is constant pressure we put on ourselves to have more.
  2. Endless temptation to spend. There are so many ways to spend your money! Saving for retirement, renting a house, buying life insurance...The possibilities are endless.


iGrads Tips for Better Money ManagementThe financial decisions we are called upon to make can feel overwhelming. That is why we created iGrad—to help you get answers to those nagging questions, all on one convenient site. We will also provide you with useful tools and resources that you can use well into the future.

While no single resource can cover every money management issue, here we’ll look at 10 simple and easy-to-follow tips and tricks to help you better manage your money.


Use a Debit Card to Track Your Spending



It's far easier to track your spending if you use a single source for every purchase. If you do need to use a credit card—most of us do at some point or another—be sure to pay it off in full every month.


Keep Track of Your Net Worth



Determining and tracking your net worth is one of the most important financial management steps you can take. Your net worth is simply the value of everything you own, minus the amount of all your debts. It’s net worth, not income, that determines true wealth and financial freedom. Keep track of yours on a simple spreadsheet.

It is key to remember that a monthly budget is closely tied to net worth. What happens with your monthly budget, whether you spend more than you make or make more than you spend, is reflected in your net worth. Make more than you spend, and the extra income ends up in either increased savings or decreased debt. Spend more than you make, and your debt increases.


Start Investing Now, Not Later



Even if it's as little as $10 a month, have the discipline to start putting some money away each month. It adds up quickly and begins a good habit that should follow you throughout your life. ShareBuilder through ING is an ideal place to do this; you can build your nest egg at your pace, with no minimum investment.


Prepare for Periodic Expenses



Car insurance, life insurance, Christmases and birthdays, car repairs and the like never come at convenient times. Be prepared for these. If you are looking for a place to stash your cash at good interest rates, check out the Orange Savings account at ING.


Save for Emergencies



Whether you save three months', six months' or even one month's worth of living expenses, save especially for emergencies. Otherwise, you will be living paycheck to paycheck. There is nothing more liberating than realizing you can survive for some period of time without earned income.


Diversify Your Income



It doesn’t matter how much you make from your job, having a steady stream of additional income from another source is liberating. There are many ways to earn a second income. Look for freelance work in a field you excel in, or take on extra work that you can do at home or on the weekend.


Buy a Home and Live There for a Long Time



With falling real estate prices, many now claim that renting is the way to go. But long-term ownership of real estate can build substantial wealth. Unfortunately, renting never will.


Get Free Money



There are hundreds of ways to save money that don’t require any sacrifice. Take advantage of zero percent balance transfer credit card offers. Buy items through our partner, eBates.com, to receive a big check every three months. Don’t pass up a good offer when you see one -- just make sure that you actually need the item you're purchasing.


Give to a Good Cause



Whether it is your alma mater, church, community organization or some other charity, give some of your money away. What’s the point of all this money management fuss if you don't do something meaningful with at least a small portion of your income? Oftentimes those charitable donations are also tax deductible.


Take Advantage of Us



We mean it. iGrad offers a wealth of tools, resources and offers to help manage your money more effectively. Think of all the things you can do via the Internet in relation to money management. You can access your checking account, view your investments, apply for a credit card, get a mortgage, check the value of your home, prepare and submit your income taxes, find money saving deals, comparison shop...The list could go on forever. You can do much of this within the iGrad community.

How have you successfully managed your finances? Post your answer below.

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