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Are your finances where they should be?

February is Financial Aid Awareness Month so here are six easy tips to evaluate your financial situation and help you decide where to make some changes.

It is an especially exciting time for us here at the Personal Money Management Center because February is Financial Aid Awareness Month. A student, or perspective student, can celebrate by completing the FAFSA form, but what if you are not a student? Celebrate by taking a review of your personal finances. This article will help you take a quick look at your overall financial situation to help you decide where you need to make some changes. Here are six important tips to follow to get you started:

  1. Create a budget

Between dividing your expenses and income, sometimes you are left wondering, where did all my money go? Create a budget. A budget will change monthly due to the adjustments in expenses and a good Excel flow sheet will allow you to do this successfully. You will have a better understanding of where your money is spent and how much you have each month that you can save.

  1. Pay off high interest debt

To avoid accumulating a high amount of interest, cut expenses in order to focus on paying off the debt. This will allow you to pay a lower amount in interest in the long run. To assist with your plan, click here to use this free debt-reduction calculator.

  1. Save automatically

When creating a budget, it is important to anticipate and set aside money for unexpected expenses or for future goals. The easiest way to accomplish this is to save automatically with each paycheck. This is a good way to save money without ever missing it.

  1. Save for retirement

We can go through life and not think about retirement funds until we start thinking, “I want to retire soon.” Setting up a plan now and continuously adding money in to your retirement account will add up and cause less worry when it is time to retire. Make an appointment this month with your university retirement provider.

  1. Save for emergencies

Emergencies are often unexpected; in case of emergency, are you financially prepared? It is difficult to assess how much money should be set aside. Putting down even $10 a month will be of some use when an emergency arises. It is critical to be prepared in case of an emergency in order to stay within your budget and not use credit card loans.

  1. Net worth statement

Developing a solid understanding of your assets and liabilities is key to tracking your finances. Creating a net worth statement will allow you to look at your liabilities in an effort to pay down debt, and looking at your assets will allow you to watch them grow. Also, are you protecting the assets and wealth you are building? If something happened to you, do family members know where your important papers are? Are you adequately insured and do you have records of your assets, in case of theft or fire?

Fully understanding your financial situation will help with making future decisions.

Visit U Saves Week during Feb. 23 – 26 in the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building and the Olpin University Union, and stop by the Personal Money Management Center to pick up your free copy of “The Financial Checkup.” We are located in the Olpin University Union, room 317 and are open Monday – Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m. To make an appointment for one-on-one counseling call 801-585-7379.