If being financially responsible is your goal, it may seem like you’re fighting a never-ending battle. Because bills need to be paid at regular intervals, you may not immediately see the benefits of your careful budgeting and planning. Demonstrating your ability to handle credit and live within your means can increase your credit rating. It can also boost your confidence by highlighting your ability to manage your income properly.
How to be financially responsible
Live within your budget. Treat your budget as a guideline and not a suggestion to make the most of your money. Take care of necessities such as housing and vehicle payments before fulfilling your “wants”. Avoid purchasing new items and services if you can’t afford your current ones. Instead, find ways to save money by reducing services you don’t fully use. For instance, downgrading your satellite service can free up money to put toward interests that are more useful.
Meet your bill obligations. Although no one is delighted to see money leaving his account, it can be rewarding when you know your affairs are in order. Maintain a master payment schedule complete with grace periods and final due dates. Manage your income so that you’re able to pay your bills before receiving late fees.
Keep creditors informed of status changes. Take responsibility for your situation instead of dodging phone and mail correspondence. Alerting creditors to issues such as job loss or illness can open the door to negotiation. Although you may not always be able to adjust payment arrangements without penalties, it’s important to demonstrate your maturity.
Use your credit wisely. Avoid thinking of credit card limits as “fun money”. Realize that credit card agreements feature information regarding payment amounts, interest rates and penalties. Read the fine print prior to accepting and before using a credit card. Introductory rates and minimum payments are subject to fulfilling specific conditions, failure to know your current and future terms can affect your budget. Check your credit report at least once yearly to confirm information and find out your score.
Curb your urge to splurge. Although treating yourself to an occasional nice dinner or new pair of shoes may not hurt your wallet, repeatedly indulging yourself can cause financial ruin. Learn when to allow yourself leniency and when to tell yourself “no”. Plan for large purchases by saving small amounts of money until you reach your goal.
Using store gift cards as a way to budget can keep you from overspending. Carrying cash while leaving your credit cards at home, can eliminate the urge to make frivolous credit card purchases.
Limit your time with friends who live to shop. Avoid picking up their negative habits.