Stimulus Checks printed at the Philadelphia Financial Center in Philadelphia.
Jeff Fusco | Getty Images
Many Americans are waiting for their second stimulus check and others want to know when they might get a third payment.
The $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief plan presented by President Joe Biden provides for a third round of $ 1,400 economic reviews to bring the $ 600 Payments Congress approved in December to $ 2,000. Ultimately, however, lawmakers don’t necessarily have to agree on this amount, and it could take several weeks for Biden’s proposal to get through Congress.
So the wait goes on.
That doesn’t mean you are on the sidelines when it comes to your finances. Try this 5 day money challenge. Here are five simple steps you can take right now to get a better grip on your money, whether or not another stimulus check is on the way:
Day 1: Calculate Your Wealth
The first step in taking control of your money is figuring out where you are right now. Once you have information on all of your accounts, it only takes a few minutes to calculate your net worth.
“It is very important to look at your finances as a whole because everything is interconnected,” said Zaneilia Harris, certified financial planner and president of the Harris & Harris Wealth Management Group in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Add up how much you have in checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts plus the estimated value of your home or other real estate you own. Then add up the value of your liabilities, debts – credit card balances, student loans, mortgages, auto loans – and other bills you owe. Where your finances currently stand is in the answer to this equation: Assets – Liabilities = Net Assets.
Day 2: Run a payroll
Day 3: do a budget makeover
If you’ve never created a budget before, or haven’t looked at it in several months, it probably needs a revision. Make sure it reflects your immediate financial goals, which may have changed. “Look at how you have dealt with money and your past cash flow, and then assess whether certain things are even necessary,” said Harris, author of “Finance ‘n Stilettos – Matters of Money for the Good.” well-to-do woman “. “”
“Prioritize what things are necessary now. Some things may not be as necessary as you thought,” she added.
Focus on what to spend on basic needs and long-term plans. “This budget shouldn’t be all about constraints,” said Emily Shallal, senior director, client strategy and innovation, Ally Bank. “It’s a tool you can use to make financial decisions so you can be safer and happier with your money.”
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Try the “60% solution”. Spend 60% of your gross income on “tied expenses” – this includes all of your taxes, housing costs, transportation, debt payments, childcare and any expenses you have to pay each month. Divide the rest of your “expenses” this way and pay yourself off. Put 20% of your gross income on long-term savings (including college and retirement plans), 10% on short-term savings (including your emergency fund), and 10% on “fun money.” “for anything you want.
Day 4: Direct your payments to multiple accounts
Direct your payment to multiple bank accounts, not just plain checks and a savings account. First, deposit just enough money into your checking account to cover basic household expenses and monthly bills, nothing more. Then send another part of your salary into a savings account to help build your emergency fund. Also, set up savings accounts for other goals and dreams, such as: B. for a new house or a new vacation.
“Now is a good time to set up your bank accounts so that you have buckets ready for whatever comes up this year,” said Berna Anat, financial literacy educator and creator of financial literacy website Hey Berna. “From there you can set priorities visually. This bucket has to be full by April because there’s a wedding or one that I have to fund after tax season.”
Day 5: Set up notifications in your bank’s mobile app
Customize bank notifications in your bank’s mobile app to help you manage your money. You can usually ask to be contacted by text or email. Direct deposit, low balance, or large purchase alerts can be especially useful.
They know when your salary is in your account or when your account balance is below the amount you need to cover that week or month’s expenses. And before making a big purchase, you can ask yourself: “Do I really need this item? Or” Do I just want this item? However, a “major purchase notice” will contact you as a further bowel check, if a significant amount of money is involved, say $ 100 or $ 200, will be spent at once.
The ultimate goal of the 5 Day Money Challenge is to get your financial life moving now. “Look at ways you can make positive progress,” said Harris. “These small steps lead to big steps.
“Breaking it down into smaller steps or habits will allow you to look at your finances more regularly and link those steps and habits to things that are very important to you in your life.”
And you don’t have to wait for the stimulus check to begin.