University of Illinois Extension

Spend Smart, Save Smart Tips

Ten Tips for Managing Money

  • Track your spending. Keep weekly and monthly totals to prevent overspending.
  • Develop a realistic budget and stick to it!
  • Instead of buying an item, think of alternate ways of getting it, like borrowing or sharing.
  • If necessary, go on a spending or credit “diet.” Have a “spend nothing week.”
  • Shop with a list. It will help you avoid impulse buying.
  • Think twice before buying. Ask yourself, “do I really need this?”
  • Pay more than the minimum on credit card payments. You’ll pay off the balance faster, and save more by paying less in interest.
  • Pay bills on time to avoid late charges and a negative credit report.
  • Plan for savings. You should have at least 3 months of savings in reserve.
  • Go to the More for Your Money website,, for more information on how to better understand your money and use it wisely.