Managing Your Finances
Are you on the road to reaching your life's goals? Managing your finances effectively is one of the best ways to improve your chances of success.
At Norway Savings, we can help. We hope you'll read our advice here on the website, then meet with a friendly Norway expert at your nearest local branch.
The key to reaching your goals is to be clear on what they are.
Make a plan
Write down your goals -- which are most important, how much they'll cost, when you hope to achieve them, and ways to begin saving for them. This will help inspire you to get your financial house in order.
Control your money
Don't let your money control you! Create a budget to help you understand and manage finances. A budget is an orderly reckoning of your income in comparison with your expenses and other outlays. It gives you the information and structure you'll need to move toward your goals in realistic ways.
Begin by getting a handle on your income, the money flowing into your household. What is your net income after taxes and other regular payroll deductions (such as health insurance premiums)?
You'll need this as a monthly number: To calculate your monthly net income, multiply your weekly pay by 4.33, your biweekly pay by 2.167, or divide your annual income by 12.
Now look at your monthly expenses. Where is your money going? Fixed monthly expenses, such as rent, mortgage, or loan payments, are the same month after month. These are easy to track.
Variable monthly expenses, such as groceries and utility bills, vary from month to month. To track these, estimate or record them for a year (or look at last year's bills) and divide by 12.
To track occasional expenses, such as property taxes and other insurance premiums, estimate or record them for a year (or look at last year's bills) and, again, divide by 12.
Don't forget the details
For many households, small cash purchases really add up. For at least one month, record everything you and your family spend on things like movies, haircuts, and coffee on the go. Do it as a group effort -- a great way to get the facts and teach everyone the importance of managing finances.
Add it up
Now fill out your budget, entering your income and expenses in monthly rows and columns -- and get ready for a few surprises: How much can you save? Where could you cut to save even more? How long will it take you to reach your goals? Probably a little longer than you'd like. But at least you know the truth -- and now you can really do it!
Tips for Teens
Teenagers need financial advice, too — learning the best ways to save, spend, or protect their cash can be tricky. The FDIC makes it easy with their downloadable guide: Money Management for Teens!