Most experts say that the first step to financial security is to make a budget and track your expenses. But a lot of people never get around to doing it. So, here are a few warning signs that’ll tell you if that you’re living beyond your means:
You’re saving less than 10 percent of your income. Financial planner Sheryl Garrett says that 10 percent is the minimum you should be adding to your rainy day fund. And if you don’t start saving until your thirties, that figure should be closer to 15 percent of your pay.
Your rent or mortgage eats up most of your paycheck. Financial planners say you should limit your rent or mortgage to one-week’s pay. That way, you’ll have plenty of income to cover your other expenses, including savings and emergencies.
You rack up overdraft fees. According to the Pew Research Center, 1-in-5 people bounce a check occasionally. But if more than three of your checks are returned for insufficient funds within a year, you’re mismanaging your money.
Before you buy something, you think, “I know I shouldn’t, but...” According to investment expert Erin Baehr, only someone who can’t afford what they’re about to buy has to convince themselves it’s okay to spend the money. Sure, everyone deserves a treat now and then. But, in the long run, you’ll be happier if you resist the urge to overspend, and take control of your finances.