Financial Literacy Month Action Steps (Part 2)

April 1st started Financial Literacy Month.

Last week I shared 5 of my Top Action Steps for becoming Financially Literate.

Miss my last 5 Action Steps? You can view them here.

Today I’m bringing you the next 5 important Action Steps I recommend you take action on this week. Since the key to making these steps work for you is applying them in your life.

Let’s continue my Action Steps with…

Action Step #6: Organize and Automate Your Bills

If you sit down to pay bills, and you bring out a box of papers that is a mess, your first step is to organize that mess. These are really important papers you need to be on top of. Once you organize that mess, the best way I know of to stay on top of bills is to pay your bills online all in one place, or even better, set up automatic payments. This way your bills will get paid, on time, and you won’t have to scramble through a mess every month.

Action Step #7: Plan Ahead For How Your Income May Change

Some people get a paycheck every couple of weeks, or once a month. If this is you, your income is steady from month to month. But what would happen if your job changed, and you had to get another one that may not pay you as much? When you plan ahead, you will be prepared for “life’s little surprises” when they come your way.

Action Step #8: Take a Good Look at Where Your Debt Stands

Many people I know seem to ignore their debt. Which is why instead of getting smaller, these people see their debt rise and rise. Sit down once a month, and get the answers to these questions: Are you paying down your debt? Are you only making minimum payments? Are your credit cards maxed out? Do you pay bills late? Use credit instead of cash? How much do you owe? Knowing these answers is the first step to becoming financially literate. Ignore them at your peril.

Action Step #9: Identify Where Your Money Goes

This is as easy as doing a simple exercise. Get a legal pad and draw a line from top to bottom creating two columns. Label one column “NEEDS” and the other “WANTS.” Then think about what you spend money on regularly. For each item, write it down in the NEEDS column or the WANTS column, along with how much you spend on each item. Then add up each of these columns. If you’re spending more on WANTS than you are on NEEDS, it’s time for you to check your spending priorities, if you want to become financially literate.

Action Step #10: Set Financial Goals You Can Reach

It’s important to set short-term, mid-term and long-term goals for your finances. But just doing it casually won’t help you. Instead, make sure every financial goal you set is specific, measurable and achievable. Then take a look at your financial goals monthly to make sure you’re on the right track, or if you’re actually losing ground.

Take these Action Steps seriously. And take action on them today. (I’ll have 5 more Action Steps for you next week.)

When you do, you will have started down the path to not only becoming Financially Literate, you’ll set yourself up to eventually live a life of financial peace of mind.

Want to really know how your finances are now? This is the best way I know to find out where you stand.

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Please share your comments and questions