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BUDGETING may become less of a burden thanks to five easy steps shared by a finance expert.

Ex-Wall Street trader, Vivian Tu, who goes by the name Your Rich BFF on TikTok, has a passion for financial literacy and helping others make strong, financial decisions.

Vivian Tu is a personal finance expert with over 1million followers on TikTok

With nearly 11million views on TikTok, Vivian encourages her followers to strip - but not in the way you may think.

S.T.R.I.P. is a cheeky acronym she used in her recent TikTok video as an easy way to learn how to budget.

S.T.R.I.P. stands for savings, total debt, retirement, invest and plan.

Here's the breakdown of the steps in order to start growing your funds, even if you're a budgeting beginner. 

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1. Savings 

She suggests saving three to six months' worth of living expenses.

Once you’ve done that, it could be beneficial to put your money into a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) high-yield savings account (HYSA) so you're getting the most out of your money.

These high-yield savings accounts typically pay 20 to 25 times the national average of a standard savings account.

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She uses Marcus by Goldman Sachs, but most HYSAs are the same.

2. Total debt

If you're in the red, you may want to rank your debt based on the interest rates - and tackle them accordingly.

She recommends going from highest to lowest and then paying debts off in that order.

She suggests paying off any debts with a 7% interest rate or higher first before continuing on her next steps.

3. Retirement

It can also be beneficial to take advantage of tax-efficient retirement accounts like IRAs or Roth IRAs.

For Roth IRAs, you can contribute after-tax dollars, your money grows tax-free and you can typically make tax- and penalty-free withdrawals after age 59 and a half.

A traditional IRA allows you to contribute pre- or post-tax dollars, your money grows tax-deferred and withdrawals are taxed as current income after 59 and a half.

If you choose to set up one of those accounts, try to max out your contributions.

You can then invest in things like simple index funds or target-date funds.

Simple index funds are investment funds that follow a benchmark index, like the S&P 500 or the Nasdaq 100.

While target-date funds are aged-based retirement investments that are more of a risk when you're young but get more conservative over time.

To simplify things, even more, she recommends using a robo-advisor.

These are financial advisers providing advice and investment management online based on mathematics or algorithms. 

Just note that investing is risky.

No investments offer guaranteed returns and folks can lose money.

4. Invest 

As mentioned above, Vivian encourages her followers to invest in both traditional investments - like stocks and bonds - and also to invest in yourself.

This can be in your career or any side hustles that you are passionate about.

The goal is to figure out how to maximize your cash flow.

5. Plan

Lastly, it's important to plan for your future.

This means you may have to set aside time to think about your money goals and what you want to get from your career. 

You should be setting five and 10-year goals, and then actively work to achieve them.

She suggests grabbing your pen and some paper and really sitting down with yourself to determine what you would like to accomplish. 

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