Knowing when and how your bills are being paid, reducing your debt and planning for future costs will help you set your family up for financial success.

When assigning your money, have a calendar present (phone calendar or the good ol’ paper planners work fine).  Get ahead of the game by making a note of when your bills usually start rolling in, and be prepared to pay them early.

Make sure you know exactly when you’re expected to pay your bills and to whom you need to send the payment to. Set up automatic payments whenever you can. That will make life a lot easier.

Break paychecks down so that you can take a percentage out each month that will go to your retirement plan, your children’s college funds, continually boost your emergency fund and prepare to pay off debt.

Another fun way you can prepare for long-term and short-term costs is to set out mason jars (or the equivalent of your choice) and add a small amount each month, or pay-period, for things like a vacation fund, shopping trip, car repairs (that are optional) and maybe a fancy dinner. You catch the drift.

This method of saving removes any spending anxiety you may have, allows you to keep your eye on the prize and look forward to something down the road, without derailing your savings strategy.

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