NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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2010- The Year to Manage Money

2010 – The Year to Manage Money

            If better money management is one of your New Year’s resolutions, join the crowd.  For many Americans, 2009 was not a good year for issues related to money – foreclosures, business closing, job cuts and losses –were some of the top headlines last year.   Some ways to manage your 2010 dollars follows.

            . Determine What You're Worth - Finding out exactly what you're worth  is a good first step in money management.  List what you own - money in bank accounts and retirement plans, the value of stocks, bonds, investments and life insurance, the equity on your home and other property such as cars or objects of value, and then determine what you owe - outstanding mortgage balance, auto and student loans, and credit card debts. The difference, positive or negative, is your net worth.

            Let a Budget be Your Friend, Not an Enemy -  List income from paychecks, retirement accounts and investments. Be honest and realistic about your food, housing and other expenses.  As your situation changes (new job or between jobs), adjust your budget. A budget can be a great reality check for managing your money and keeping your financial house in order.

             Look Ahead - Working towards something you really want - a home, a car or simply paying off all your credit card bills or student loans - can provide motivation to put more time and energy into money management.

           Keep Records- Being a good record keeper helps to make tasks like doing your income taxes or completing a loan application easier, and saves you time and money in an emergency. Know where to easily find all important documents including birth certificates, property deeds, insurance policies and wills. Let a trusted family member or friend know their location.  

     Know Your Spending. - Review bills and bank and credit card statements and save receipts. Use them to understand your spending habits.  Spend less by using coupons, watching for sales and looking for the best price, especially on big ticket items and even on non-tangibles like insurance.

     Know Your Score  - Check your credit reports for FREE annually. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to check your credit score.  Make corrections as needed. Follow the basic rules for handling credit well - pay your balance in full whenever possible, use your cards with caution, carefully read all information sent to you by your credit card company and always check credit card statements for accuracy.


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