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Tips for Managing Your Money

Managing your money can be challenging. The key is learning what to do with the money you already have, and the money you earn.

Set Up a Budget
** List your income sources; always use after-tax income in your calculations.
** Figure your expenses.
** Set aside 5 percent of your income for savings.
** Subtract your expenses from your income and savings to see how much spending money you have.

Know Your Responsibilities
** Learn the difference between gross vs. net income and budget to the latter.
** Calculate expenses you'll have to pay when you're out on your own (rent, car, groceries, utilities, insurance, etc.).
** Get renters insurance, and protect yourself and the things you own for as little as $5 a month.
** Use credit wisely! Bad credit will stick with you for a long time, impacting you when making large purchases, such as a car.

Manage Your Checking Account
** Determine how much cash you need weekly and limit your ATM trips to once a week or less.
** Use your debit card whenever possible to avoid ATM fees.
** Use online bill pay and online money transfers where you can.
** Set up overdraft protection on your account.

Invest in Your Future
** Have money deducted directly from your paycheck or checking account through electronic funds transfer.
** Establish an emergency fund for car repairs and unexpected expenses.
** Learn how mutual funds can help you compound your earnings over your lifetime
** Invest a little each month with an automatic investment plan that takes funds directly from one of your accounts.

-- Courtesy of USAA

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