They say that timing is everything, but how many people focus on the timing of their expenses? Like really focus? Well if you’re one of the 78% of Americans who live from one check to another, it’s probably affecting everything you do.

Do I have enough to cover the rent on the first of the month? How do I afford dance lessons payments for my daughter on the 10th? Will the bank charge me with an NSF fee once the utility bill is paid on the 23rd if there is not enough money in the account?

Timing

We all know when our paydays are (or should be), but sadly, our expenses never seem to line up. Credit card payments, mortgage payments, and car payments all seem to have a way of eating up our paychecks in a hurry. Sometimes that leaves us with nothing until the next check. Sometimes that takes up more than our current paycheck, exposing us to more fees, charges, and penalties that we can’t afford.

And then what happens when you get unexpected costs? What happens when your car breaks down? What happens if you need to provide a security deposit in a hurry? There are countless emergency scenarios that I couldn’t begin to describe.

To get your finances in order, you really need to start learning about financial concepts and ideas. You know, the stuff they didn’t teach you in school. A great place to start is an online personal finance coach or financial blogs, just like this one!

Take a detailed look at your financial situation. How much do you make? Is that expected to change? What can you afford? Examine all your expenses and when do you expect them to occur. Then, cut out what’s unnecessary and stick to your budget. There are countless free apps that can help you get a grasp of it, such as mint.com and billguard.com, two great ones for starters.

Next, try to accumulate enough savings to cover 3 months of costs, at a minimum. I know, easier said than done. Look to consolidate debt, replace more expensive services with cheaper alternatives, stay away from payday loans and avoid bank changes, NSF, late penalties like the plague.

When the world moves to real-time payroll, the timing of your expenses may be a worry of the past. ZayZoon is working hard in making this happen. Until then, follow the concepts above to ensure that the timing of your expenses doesn’t hinder your ability to be financially independent.