Money management: We’re all dealing with it, and we’re all a little confused.

Money management doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are three quick ways to turn your finances around.

Work isn’t just a part of our lives, it’s one of the biggest parts.

Some people may only be obligated from 9 to 5, but with smartphones and evolving work cultures, we’re connected 24/7. A lot of us are logging over 70 hours each workweek because our phones enable us to take our work with us.

Jennifer J. Deal, Ph.D., author of "Always On, Never Done?" reports that remaining connected to work for so many hours each week leaves employees "only about 3 hours on workdays for 'discretionary' activities such as being with their family, exercising, showering, and all of those chores at home that someone has to do."


Only three hours per workday. We’re essentially never "off."

Despite working nearly nonstop, when payday rolls around, a lot of us can be left feeling like we'll never make enough.

GIF from "Finding Nemo."

Rent and mortgages, car payments, groceries, gas, nights out, pet emergencies, extracurriculars for the kids, family obligations — all of this takes a toll on our bank accounts.

It can feel like money is flying out of our accounts faster than it’s coming in. We’re working all the time but feeling like we’re just making it. We know we need to get a grip on our finances but have no idea where to start.

Here are three simple steps toward total financial domination.

1. Saving should be a part of the plan.

We hear it all the time: Save, save, save. Save for retirement. Save for emergencies. Save for travel. Figuring out how to save seems like it’s the holy grail, but how do we make that happen — especially if we feel like our money is already stretched too thin? The easiest first step is to, well, start with baby steps. Drink coffee at work or home instead of from a coffee shop, carry snacks and a reusable water bottle with you rather than buying them, come up with a quirky and fun challenge like saving all the $5 bills you accumulate, start a piggy bank — whatever is fun and doable for you.

2. Then, it all comes down to planning.

Don’t be afraid to budget. Yes, budget. It’s not a dirty word; it’s the way to freedom! Or at the very least the way to some financial flexibility. Take a look at how you’re spending money and figure out which items are needs versus wants.

Pro tip: Laura Shin, a Forbes personal finance writer, suggests keeping necessary expenses to less than 50% of your take-home pay.

Image view Tax Credits/Flickr.

Now, this isn’t always possible. Necessities are what they are, and for some of us, no amount of finagling can get them to that ideal amount.

Alan Dunn, founder of HowtoSaveMoney.com points out that, for some, "the sheer cost of survival may be very close to their total incomes." Still, it’s a pretty good benchmark to aim for, and having insight into your finances is step one on the road to financial security.

Now that you’ve begun to sort out the things you can’t live without, what about the things you want?

3. Give yourself an allowance! No, really.

Once you’ve broken down your finances into needs versus wants, build an allowance into your budget. Doing that gives you clear parameters — how much you can spend in a given pay period on things that aren’t necessities — and makes it easier to stay on track without feeling like you’re never able to treat yourself.

Make it easy for yourself to stay "on track." Image via Ben Sutherland/Flickr.

It's as simple as setting aside a fixed portion of what remains in your account after bills are taken care of. You may not be able to get everything you want at once — sometimes it’ll take a few months to put aside enough for a big purchase — but with planning, you can indulge a little.

Let's say, after all of your bills and savings are taken into account, you're able to spend $100 per month on anything your heart desires. You're dying to go to a music festival, but the tickets cost $175. It's not the end of the world! You don't have to forgo the festival, and you don't have to break your budget for the month — that would be a slippery slope. Put the $100 aside and wait until the following month when you'll have $200 at your disposal to get the tickets you want, guilt-free.

Payday might still suck…

Money will still leave your bank account at an astonishing rate that makes you believe Hogwarts is real, but you’ll feel more in control once you know where that money’s going and how to make it work for you.

Don’t feel guilty if you hit a few bumps in the road! We’re all navigating these murky money-management waters together.

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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