Even if it’s only a small sum, it will eventually add up to something helpful. Having money in savings to use for emergencies can keep you out of trouble financially and help you sleep better at night. Once you’ve gone through a few personal funds management platform finance books, you’ll realize how important it is to make sure that your expenses aren’t exceeding your income. But for those whose high school days are past, let’s take a look at eight of the most important things to understand about money.

These 29 personal finance tips below blend various categories of finances like budgeting, saving, investing, and more. If you want to get started investing in mutual funds, the main things to be aware of are active versus passive strategies and the costs that can come with each choice. Your choice will determine how much you pay and also if you take a hands-on or hands-off approach. Again, its all about taking the proper steps to control your money. There are options out there that allow you to combine several unsecured debts such as credit cards, personal loans, and payday loans, into one bill rather than pay them individually.

Your credit can determine whether you’re able to get loans and the rates you pay on them, as well as many other aspects of your financial life. A credit check may be part of getting a cell phone plan, apartment or car insurance. You can open a high-yield online savings account and set up an automatic transfer from your checking account into it. For even less temptation to spend, decline the debit card the online bank might offer you.

“How to” books on investing often discuss general “rules of thumb,” and various online resources can help you with your decision. For example, although the SEC cannot endorse any particular formula or methodology, the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System () offers an online asset allocation calculator. There is no single asset allocation model that is right for every financial goal. Fixed income investing refers to investments in debt securities that offer investors fixed-rate interest payments over a specified time frame – the life of the debt security. Debt securities are most commonly referred to simply as “bonds.” The bond market is one of the largest markets worldwide, thanks in part to the massive amount of debt being carried by most governments.

That longer time horizon gives investors more years to weather the ups and downs of the market — and during their working years, investors are ideally just adding to their investment accounts rather than taking money out. Big-name firms like Schwab or Fidelity will let you do this similarly to how you’d open a bank account. Create an emergency fund that you can dip into when unforeseen circumstances strike. Even if your contributions are small, this fund can save you from risky situations in which you’re forced to borrow money at high-interest rates or possibly find yourself unable to pay your bills on time.

Doing this will give you an idea of how much you are spending on things, and you’ll be able to allocate sums of money for whatever you want. You’ll also be able to see how much money you can save, and what you can cut back on in future months to increase your savings. It’s important that you go into as much detail as you can when it comes to expenditure, such as haircuts, gym memberships, takeaways, and many other costly things just so you can keep on top of it all. Stocks have historically had the greatest risk and highest returns among the three major asset categories. As an asset category, stocks are a portfolio’s “heavy hitter,” offering the greatest potential for growth. The volatility of stocks makes them a very risky investment in the short term.

Bonds are generally less volatile than stocks but offer more modest returns. You should keep in mind that certain categories of bonds offer high returns similar to stocks. But these bonds, known as high-yield or junk bonds, also carry higher risk. Your time horizon is the expected number of months, years, or decades you will be investing to achieve a particular financial goal. An investor with a longer time horizon may feel more comfortable taking on a riskier, or more volatile, investment because he or she can wait out slow economic cycles and the inevitable ups and downs of our markets.

Amy Fontinelle has more than 15 years of experience covering personal finance—insurance, home ownership, retirement planning, financial aid, budgeting, and credit cards—as well corporate finance and accounting, economics, and investing. In addition to Investopedia, she has written for Forbes Advisor, The Motley Fool, Credible, and Insider and is the managing editor of an economics journal. Once you’ve started investing, you’ll typically have access to online resources that can help you manage your portfolio. The websites of many mutual fund companies, for example, give customers the ability to run a “portfolio analysis” of their investments. The results of a portfolio analysis can help you analyze your asset allocation, determine whether your investments are diversified, and decide whether you need to rebalance your portfolio.