As the saying goes, there is no better time than the present. When it comes to setting up a system for managing your personal finances, the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to begin. The easiest way to be successful with a cash management program is to develop a systematic and disciplined approach. Spending a few minutes each week to maintain your cash management program can help you to keep track of how you spend your money and pursue your financial goals.
Any good cash management system revolves around the four As – Accounting, Analysis, Allocation, and Adjustment.
Accounting involves gathering all your relevant financial information together and keeping it close at hand for future reference. Gathering all your financial information — such as income and expenses — and listing it systematically will give you a clear picture of your overall financial situation.
It’s important to note all of your expenses, subscriptions, memberships, and more. The small items add up quickly.
Next, you need to sit down and review your financial situation once you have accounted for all your income and expenses. You will almost invariably find yourself with either a shortfall or a surplus. Ideally, you should be spending less than you earn, if this isn’t the case, you will need to take a very close look at your spending habits.
Now you must determine your financial commitments and priorities and distribute your income accordingly. One of the most important factors in allocation is to distinguish between your real needs and your wants. If you need to reduce your expenses, you may want to start out by cutting back on your discretionary spending. This can help to free up cash that can either be invested for the long term or used to pay off fixed debt.
Even with a set budget, it’s important to be flexible and account for needed changes. You may want to review your budget monthly, quarterly or biannually to be sure it fits your lifestyle and needs, wants, and wishes Above all, be flexible. Any budget that is too rigid is likely to fail.
Using the four As is an excellent way to help you monitor your financial situation to ensure that you are on the right track to meet your financial goals.
Commonwealth Financial Network® or Blakely Financial does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.
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