1. Learn to be financially independent. Don’t rely on someone else – a spouse, parent, child. Educate yourself about money management. Many community education programs offer classes on various money topics, and there are professionals available to help you.
2. Be involved in the day-to-day management of your household finances. Even if your spouse is the one who balances the checkbook and handles the bank accounts, make sure you know everything there is to know about these tasks and are capable of doing them if the need arises. And always know what your household’s financial situation is.
3. Create a budget and stick to it. Draw up a budget showing how much you will spend each month on the necessities – rent or house payment, car payment, groceries, medical expenses, and so on. Then write down all avenues of income. Determine how much you want to set aside in savings and then work with what you have left over for the “extras” you’d like to invest in. The key is to spend less than you earn!
4. As noted above, be sure to set money aside in savings each month. It is important to build an emergency fund. No one likes to think about losing a job or incurring an unexpected medical expense, but it could happen. It is best to be ready.
5. Don’t be afraid of investing! Many people want to keep their money safely tucked away in a bank account where it earns regular – but often very minimal – interest. Talk to a financial planner, learn about the savings plans offered through your employer, and don’t let fear keep you from making the most of your money.