10 Money Experts Share Their Best Tips for Managing Your Finances

managing your financesWant to know how some of the top finance experts stay organized? We did too. So we asked 10 bloggers, authors and other financial experts to share some of their best tips… things they’ve seen work over the years. The list below features their best ideas and strategies for managing your finances.

10 Expert Tips for Managing Your Finances:

1. Simplify Everything

“I keep everything simple. I consolidated all my investment accounts into as few accounts as possible so I have less to track and manage. I have one personal credit card and one business card. Everything fits in one file drawer. All bills that can be on auto-pay are. Everything flows into a single personal checking account and a single business checking account. My goal is always to simplify wherever I can because complication grows exponentially and breeds mistakes, and the problem with financial mistakes is they’re nearly always expensive.”

Todd Tresidder, Founder & Financial Coach at FinancialMentor

2. Use Cash

“In today’s world it’s become much easier to pay for things than ever before. You can simply swipe your card, pay quickly with Amazon 1-click, wave your phone if you use Apple Pay, and you can even send your friends money through apps like Snapchat and Facebook. While we may believe these methods of making a payment were created for our own convenience, these methods of payments were actually developed with much more in mind.

A study was conducted and it was determined the pain receptors in your brain are only activated when you pay with cash. This means we actually ‘feel’ money leaving our hands in exchange for whatever we are buying. The other options out there mask this pain and we tend to overspend because we don’t ‘feel’ the exchange at all. Retailers know this and continue to use these convenient ways of paying in their favor.

A way for you to fight back is to start using cash in the three areas of your life where you overspend. For most, this will be groceries, dining out, and shopping at your favorite department store. Next time you are at the grocery line checkout, the bill comes at your favorite restaurant, or you are paying for a new pair of shoes, use this green paper stuff that we have been trained to sway away from. Research shows you actually spend much less when paying with cash than with any other form of payment. Common sense says you will even get a better deal when you pay with cash. Try it and see for yourself!”

Chris Peach, personal finance blogger, coach and founder of Money Peach

3. Determine Your Savings Potential

“Start your budget/spending plan and make it a priority, because if you keep talking about it with no action it won’t happen.  Without knowing how much you can save you’ll never be effective in actually getting a spending plan in place.  For determining your savings potential I like using an aggregation software such as eMoney Advisor so a financial professional can hold you accountable.  If you want to be a do it yourself-er than look at Mint.com as an initial tool to see where your money is going.”

Brandon Hayes, MBA, Certified Financial Planner, and Vice President at oXYGen Financial

4. Use a Spending Plan

“My best tip for tracking, organizing and staying on top of my finances is to create a monthly budget or a spending plan (for those who find the word budget really boring). The importance of creating a budget cannot be over emphasized because having a budget helps me:

  1. Create a financial plan for my finances each month
  2. Make smart financial decisions
  3. Ensure my expenditures are in line with my financial goals and values
  4. And finally it helps me spend without a worry because I know the important things have been taken care of”

Esther, personal finance blogger and founder of Money Nuggets

5. Check Your Statements Regularly

“This will sound old fashioned in the age of technology, but my tip is to balance your checkbook and reconcile your credit card statements each and every month. It forces you to look at how you’ve spent your money. It will also help you catch any errors, which do occur from time to time. I’ve canceled countless subscriptions from balancing my checkbook that I had long forgotten about.”

Rob Berger, founder and blogger at Dough Roller

6. Track 30 Days of Purchases

“Check your account balances daily and see where your money is really going. This can also help you see when your funds are getting too low and you need to curb your spending. I also recommend that people track every purchase for 30 days and also write down how they felt after the purchase. Many times we spend mindlessly and not necessarily within our values. This exercise can be eye-opening.”

Melanie Lockert, author and founder of the blog Dear Debt

7. Get Automated

“The thing I preach to clients is to become financially automated.  What I mean by that is to set up auto deposits and payment of bills.  By not having to spend time on routine monthly bills, you can better manage the rest of your financial picture.”

Van Pappas, Certified Financial Planner at oXYGen Financial

8. Keep Your Receipts

“A tip I recommended is saving all receipts for two or three months and tracking all spending. Reviewing this will help identify any routines or leaks in spending that you might be unaware of.  That daily cup of coffee, the convenience meal once a week, the impulse purchases at the department store, etc. These small unknowingly purchases could be costing you a good bit of money overtime and keeping you from your money goals.”

Brian, founder and blogger at Debt Discipline

9. Start With a Budget

“Tracking, organizing and staying on top of your finances all begins with a budget. You can’t change the way you spend and save money if you don’t know where the money is going in the first place. The number one reason people fall into the debt trap is because they fail to invest in their financial health. It’s never too late to start budgeting which is what gave us the financial freedom we have today with zero debt and no mortgage. We created a budget that we offer for free to all subscribers to Canadian Budget Binder because we want our readers to be successful at reaching their financial goals. It’s not about how much money you make, it’s how you save it.”

Mr. CBB, founder and blogger at Canadian Budget Binder

10. Adjust Your Due Dates

“One great tip to organize your finances better is to contact your credit card companies and monthly bill providers to see if they can shift your due dates to all around the same time of the month. That way, your bill paying isn’t spread out throughout the month and it’s easier to remember everything that needs to be paid. Also, if you can get them changed to the beginning of the month, you’ll know exactly how much money you have leftover to get through the rest of the month without overspending or falling into debt. Partnering that with setting up automatic payments can streamline the bill paying process even more. Just make sure you continue to review your balances and amounts due so an error doesn’t occur that manages to get past you.”

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance