Make a realistic budget and stick to it:

Gather your bills from the past few months, make a list of all your recurring expenses, then rank them in order of importance. After that, cut from the bottom of your list until what you make exceeds what you plan to spend.

Pay bills right after receiving your paycheck:

Taking care of monthly obligations before letting yourself indulge in any luxury expenses is a good way to keep your budget in check.

Add one month’s pay to your emergency fund:

Try building a fund with 12 to 18 months’ take-home income, but remember, it won’t happen overnight. Rather, chip away at it over time.

Use different credit cards for everyday purchases and debt:

Use a rewards credit card for everyday purchases and a zero-percent APR card for balances that you’ll carry from month to month.

Repay 20 percent of your credit card debt:

Use a credit card payoff calculator to crunch the numbers in your situation and how much in payments you can afford.

Sign up for credit monitoring:

Signing up for free credit monitoring will enable you to receive an instant notification any time there is an important change to your credit report. It reduces lag time when spotting issues and gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t miss anything.

Make sure you have enough insurance for a catastrophe:

Take steps such as purchasing life insurance and disability insurance, in addition to making sure you have enough health insurance coverage.

Look for a better job:

Sometimes, we get so caught up in spending less and saving more that we forget to address the other side of the equation — how much we earn. But the benefits of finding a higher-paying job could outweigh everything else.

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