Do not look forward to a stimulus test: 5-day cash problem

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 be able to receive 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 do not necessarily have to agree on this amount, and it could take several weeks for Biden’s proposal to find its way through Congress.

So the wait goes on.

That doesn’t mean you will be marginalized on 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, your 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’ve dealt with money in the past and your past cash flow, and then assess whether certain things are even necessary,” said Harris, author of “Finance ‘n Stilettos – Money Matters 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 that 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.” “one to use it for anything you want.

Day 4: Direct your payments to multiple accounts

Direct your payment to multiple bank accounts, not just simple 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 build your emergency fund. Also, set up savings accounts for other goals and dreams, such as: B. a new house or a 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 educator and creator of financial education 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. Alerts for a direct deposit, low balance, or large purchase can be especially useful.

They know when your salary is in your account or when your bank 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 substantial 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.

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