When the economy changes, it can be difficult to keep up with all your financial responsibilities. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to manage money no matter what the economy does. This article covers some essential tips on budgeting and money management.

Live By a Budget

A budget is a critical part of good financial management. Without it, you can find yourself spending money on without realizing what you’re spending money on. Your basic monthly budget should take into account all your income sources and all the expenses you have to pay each month. With a plan in place, you can keep your spending under control and make all your monthly payments on time.

Related: How to Create a Budget Template in Excel

Get Educated Before Investing

Investing choices can make or break your finances, especially if you’re not aware of what you’re investing in. Working with a financial advisor to develop and investment policy statement can ensure you make the best investment choices possible. Investing comes with risks, that goes without saving, but getting educated will help minimize the risk as much as possible.

Build Credit With Small Purchases

If you need a boost to your FICO Score, you need to show that you can responsibly handle credit obligations. Using a credit card each month – and paying it back on time – will help build your credit score. You don’t have to max out your credit card, and actually you shouldn’t. Instead, you can use it for small monthly purchase that you pay in full. Each month you make a timely payment will help your credit score.

Budget for Annual Expenses

It’s pretty easy to manage monthly expenses. However, expenses that come only once a year can completely blindside you can wreck your budget for that month. Plan for these expenses by saving up for them all year long. Divide the total amount of the expense by 12 to see how much you should set aside each month for that expense. Then, put the money in a separate checking account so you’ll have it when it’s time to pay that expense.

Continuously Find Ways to Save

There’s always an opportunity to save money, the key is finding those ways. Review your spending twice a year to identify places that you can cut back. You may be able to completely eliminate some expenses. Or, you can shop around with competitors and find a lower price. Taking on a new habit, like couponing, can also help you save more money.

Related: 18 Ways to Make a $100 or More This Weekend

Diversify Your Investments

Putting all your money in the same investment can be risky. If that investment drops, you can stand to lose everything. Investing in a mutual fund and spread your risk and allow you to invest in multiple securities without having to do all the research. Consider a no-load mutual fund which will allow you to avoid many of the fees that make investing more expensive. You may be able to get started with as little as $1,000 for a lower fee than if you worked directly with a broker.

Making the most of your money doesn’t happen by accident. You must be intentional about the financial decisions you make to ensure your spending falls in line with your goals.

Related: Why Diversifying Your 401K Is Better For Your Retirement!