Controlling Your Day-to-Day Spending

Here are some ways for making the most of your income and controlling your day-to-day spending:

CARRY WRITTEN REMINDERS OF YOUR GOALS WITH YOU. When you are about to buy something, read your goals. Then decide whether that purchase will help you get closer to your dreams or goals.

CARRY AS LITTLE CASH AS POSSIBLE, and don't shop just for something to do. Avoid frequent trips to the automatic teller machine (ATM) for pocket change, as it adds up quickly.

USE DIRECT DEPOSIT if your employer offers it. Your paycheck will automatically be deposited in your bank account.

PUT ITEMS ON LAYAWAY. This helps stop you from buying on impulse, without thinking. Also, layaway plans usually do not have finance charges, as credit cards do.

BUY ONLY WHAT YOU NEED. Do not buy items just because they are ''on sale'' or just because you have a coupon.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, TRY TO PAY WITH CASH, A CHECK, OR A DEBIT CARD INSTEAD OF A CREDIT CARD. Using a credit card adds a finance charge to the cost of your purchase if you do not pay off the entire bill. Debit cards, unlike credit cards, withdraw money directly from your checking account. Because it is your own money, there is no interest. But, debit cards do immediately deduct funds from your checking account. You should note in your checkbook each time you use your debit card, write a check, or withdraw money from an ATM. Then, you won't accidentally overdraw your account.