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Tips on how to get your finances in order

If you're trying to find a way to get back on track financially, here are some points you should consider:

1. Educate Yourself

Look for free workshops and resources in the community to learn about budgeting and money management.

  • Seek out trusted advisors. Many local community and church organizations now host Financial Education workshops to educate consumers. Contact your local community center or city government office for a schedule of classes in your neighborhood.
  • Midwest BankCentre hosts Financial Education seminars at least once a quarter Ėmaterials used are provided by the FDIC or other government organizations to provide tips and best practices to help you manage your money.

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2. Make a Plan and Get Out of Debt

  • Make a list of all your debts, including minimum monthly payments, interest rates, and current balances.
  • If you have more than one or two debts youíve got several choices when deciding which one to pay off first. After listing your debts and the monthly amount due on each one, choose one of the following to pay off faster (with any extra money you can afford to send):
    • The bill with the highest interest rate or the highest fees youíre incurring because youíre behind.
    • The bill with the smallest balance.
    • The bill with the largest minimum payment. (Similar results as above.)
    • The oldest bill, which can be necessary if a debt has gone into collections, or is past due.
    • Speak to each creditor personally and see what can be worked out, some may be more willing to work with you than others.
    • The service that you need to use again soon and wonít be able to unless itís paid - for example, housing, food, utilities and medical care.
  • Stick to your debt repayment plan as best you can, no matter how long it takes to get things right.

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3. Keep Track of Your Monthly Expense

  • Before you can create a household budget, you need to know what your monthly and annual expenses are.
  • Write your expenses down for 30 days and review your last 3 months bank statements so you know where your money is going. Take a look at your expenses over the last year to get an idea of annual expenses, such as taxes, insurance and subscription services.

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4. Create a BUDGET for All Future Expenses

  • Whatever budgeting method you choose to use, even if itís just a plain sheet of paper each month, make a plan for all of your annual expenses on a month-to-month basis.
  • If your monthly budget totals a sum greater than your monthly income, you can:
    • Cut your expenses further.
    • Increase your income.

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5. Take it One Day at a Time

  • You must execute your plan to be successful. Once you have established your budget, be sure to stick to it.
  • Do everything you can do to make your finances better, and donít be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you need assistance setting up a successful household budget we are here to help!
  • Set aside a time each week, to work on your bills (calling creditors, adjusting your budget, mailing payments).

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Tips for Effective Financial Management

  • Start making changes today. Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Track your spending. This will help you see where you are spending your money and what spending habits are keeping you from your goals.
  • Set personal financial goals. This will provide you with a blueprint for making your future plans a reality. Regardless of what life stage you're in, setting tangible and realistic goals, following them, and tracking your progress is the key to achieving success.

For help determining the best ways for sound and productive money management during your current Lifestage, please contact us at (314) 631-5500 or email us.

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