One of the most common issues that I work with is helping individuals with disabilities learn to manage their money. It can be so frustrating to go through each month holding your breath to see if there will enough cash on hand to get you through. Fortunately it’s easy to learn how to budget and with a few tips on handling your finances, you should be able to find yourself standing on a bit firmer ground.

First of all, keep track of where your money is going. That seems to intimidate some people who think it’s going to be a horrible chore, but it really isn’t. I pay most of my bills on line these days, so I can go back and pull that information from my on-line account and see where I stand. When money starts getting tight, I go back to square one: making a list of my bills and recording how much they are costing me. I did that this weekend and found one problem immediately – my electric bill had gone up tremendously. I have a swimming pool I heat during the summer and it takes extra electricity to do that. I need to include it in my plan so I’m prepared for the increase when the summer comes.

Once you’re writing down what you’re spending your money on, take a look to see if it’s worth it to you to continue dealing with. My cell phone is costing me about $150/month. The bad part is I hate the actual phone, so I know the minute this contract is up, I’m going to switch plans and get something cheaper.

A few other tips to help you come out ahead:

• Pay your bills first and live the rest of the month on what is left.
• Put something away for your retirement or emergencies. It doesn’t matter if it’s only $10 a month, but make a commitment to growing your savings.
• Pay your bills on time. Having a list allows you to write down that the bill has been paid and you can keep track so you don’t have to pay late fees.

With a little forethought and a little planning, you’ll have greater peace of mind when it comes to the end of the month!


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