If you’ve become accustomed to having your finances in disarray, it’s likely time to take control of your financial life and get things in order.
This may seem like a tall order of business, especially if you’ve had your financial records scattered for quite some time… but it can actually be a much simpler process than you might think. The first step that you need to take in order to make some headway toward organization is to realize that there is definitely a better way to take care of your finances and banking than what you’re currently doing. From that point, it’s simply a matter of creating and enforcing your own personalized banking strategy in order to get the most out of your money.
What Is a Personalized Banking Strategy?
If you’re not exactly sure what a personalized banking strategy is, you’re not alone. At its most basic, a personalized banking strategy is simply a method of looking at the way that you deal with your finances and building your financial planning around it. Savings accounts, chequeing accounts, investments… they all fit into your banking strategy. It’s time to take the time to look at them individually so as to determine how to best get them to work together for your benefit.
The purpose of savings is obviously to assist you in saving money, but many people use savings in much the same way that they do chequeing. Not only does this cause you to miss out on some of the benefits of the interest rates that savings accounts carry, but you can actually lose money in fees if you make too many withdrawals in a month.
If you don’t have a savings account, you might want to consider getting one… but if you find that you’re using the ATM a bit too much, it’s time to hide your ATM card. The money in your savings account needs to stay there until it’s really needed.
The key to successfully managing your chequeing account is to balance your chequebook monthly and build up a bit of a buffer to prevent overdrawn cheques. Round up to the next whole number the amount of each purchase when you record it in your chequebook. While this may only be a little bit of change, with each purchase it will grow; at the end of each month you’ll find that you’ve got more money in your account than your ledger was showing.
You can either leave it there to build the buffer more, or transfer the difference to your savings which you should do every few months, at the very least.
Long-term deposits can also figure prominently into your banking plans, especially if you have problems with maintaining a savings balance. Instead of placing all of your savings into your savings account, place some if it into certificates of deposit or other long-term deposits… the interest rate will be better than most accounts, and it will help keep you from spending the money that you’re trying to save.
You shouldn’t ignore the usefulness of investments when determining how best to divide up your money. As a general rule, it can be best to choose a relatively stable investment that will be used as a long-term investment… this way there’s less danger of the value suddenly dropping and you won’t be as tempted to simply sell the stock when you need quick cash. Investing a little each month (perhaps on an investment plan) can help you to keep your investments growing, as well.