You’re hoping to get your finances on track once and for all. To get started, take a look at the five best financial habits to follow: 

1. Follow a Budget

Are you living without a budget? It’s time to fix that! Following a budget is an excellent financial habit—in fact, it should be considered an essential one!

A budget will help you keep track of your income and your monthly expenses. It will prevent you from spending beyond your means and putting your checking account into overdraft. And it will help you save money for major goals, whether it’s a summer vacation or a college fund for your kids.

Starting a budget is simple nowadays. All you have to do is download one of the top budgeting apps on your smartphone or computer and then follow the instructions. The majority of these modern apps will sync with your online banking so that you have accurate updates of your deposits, withdrawals and upcoming bills. 

2. Save for Emergencies

It’s always wise to prepare for the worst. In the case of your finances, this means putting together an emergency fund.

How do you start an emergency fund? Take a look at your budget and see how much you can afford to move into a separate savings account. Automate that payment into your savings account every month. Over time, your emergency fund will grow into a reliable safety net.

It’s much easier to handle urgent expenses with an emergency fund. Without it, you will have to turn to an alternative solution to cover the emergency, like an online loan.

If you’re considering an online loan, make sure to search for options available in your home state. So, if you live in Tulsa, you’ll want to search for loans in Oklahoma to help with your emergency. You don’t want to spend your time looking at loans that aren’t accessible in Oklahoma, especially when time is of the essence. 

3. Pay More than the Minimum

Credit card companies give users a minimum payment option with their monthly bills. It’s usually calculated based on your current balance and the card’s interest rate. This minimum is the smallest amount a company will accept as a payment without imposing a late fee.

Paying the minimum isn’t a bad thing. It’s a good way to avoid missing a payment when your budget is tight. However, you should never get in the habit of only paying the minimum. When you do this, you risk your balance growing out of your control. If you’re not careful, you could max out your card.

Paying more than the minimum is a great financial habit to follow. It will help you maintain control of your card’s balance as time goes on. 

4. Automate Bill Payments

Missing bill payments can come with a long list of consequences, from late penalties to service cut-offs. You don’t want to deal with any of those! If important deadlines seem to slip your mind, you can automate your bill payments through your online banking. By automating the payments, you can guarantee that your creditors get paid on time, every time. You won’t have to worry about late fees and any other penalties coming your way. 

5. Following a Shopping List

And the last financial habit that you should always follow is to make a shopping list before you go to the store. A shopping list will help you get everything you need to buy and prevent you from straying from those needs. You’ll be less likely to spend impulsively when you have this simple guideline in your pocket, which should save you lots of money in the long run.

If you don’t follow these financial habits already, now’s the time to start!