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The financial difficulties in which millions of people have found themselves in recent years have caused increased interest in the topic of smart personal finance. There is no substitute for knowledge when it comes to making wise choices on stretching every dollar. The tips in the article that follows provide a great starting place for anyone looking to get the most out of every paycheck.

Minimize your credit card accounts to just one account. Having more than one card can lead to difficulties in managing your monthly payments. Typically most people spend on cards that are available and with multiples you run the risk of outstripping your ability to cover all the payments necessary to maintain your due dates.

Are you married? Let your spouse apply for loans if he or she has a better credit score than you. If you are someone who does not have the best credit, you should try to build the credit back up using a credit card with a small limit you can pay off every month. Once the both of you have high credit scores, you’ll be able to apply for loans together and split your debt equally.

To save on college costs, strongly consider enrollment at a local community college for the first two years and then transfer to a four-year institution for your last two years. With annual tuition cost savings of 50% or more over traditional four-year universities, going to a community college for your first two years can make a whole lot of sense. Many community colleges have direct transfer programs to four-year institutions that ensure the relevance of the credits you have earned towards your degree. You will get the exact same diploma and credentials at the end of the four years, as your classmates who attended the four-year university straight-through, but your costs (and possible debt) will be so much less.

Consider having a savings account that automatically debits from your paycheck each month. One of the hardest parts of saving is getting into the habit of saving and having it taken out automatically, removes this step. Also, automatically refilling your savings account means that it won’t be depleted if you do need to dip into it for any type of emergencies, especially if it’s more than once.

If you work or go to school full time, try to bring lunch every day. Making a sandwich will save you 6 to 8 dollars on the food that you would buy if you went out to eat at lunch. Bring your lunch to work or school every day to avoid extra spending.

Purchasing in bulk is one of the most efficient things that you can do if you want to save a lot of money during the year. Instead of going to the supermarket for certain goods, purchase a Costco card. This will give you the ability to buy different perishables in bulk, which can last for a long time.

If you are attending a sporting event, try to look for the signs that lead you to free parking. Even though this may require you to walk a few extra blocks, it can save you up to 20 dollars during the night. Saving small amounts over time can really add up as they can be treated just like profits.

Always make your credit card payments on time. If you do not you are sure to be deemed a credit risk; your credit score will go down; and your interest rates will go up. Make at least the minimum payment on time so that late payments do not get applied to your credit report.

Put money in a separate account to save for big purchases. When you set your sights on that flat-screen t.v., an expensive pair of shoes or a much-needed purchase such as a new refrigerator, using credit to buy it is always tempting. In the current economy, though, racking up more debt is something to avoid at all costs. Set up a new bank account, preferably one that is harder to get money out of, and have a set amount automatically transferred into it each month.

If you’re trying to start a budget using a program, try to avoid spending with cash. It’s easy to forget about cash purchases and not factor them in, since they’re much more difficult to track with budgeting software. Instead, use debit or credit cards wherever possible to keep your spending visible.

Saving even your spare change will add up. Take all the change you have and deposit it directly into a savings account. You will earn small interest, and over time you will see that start to build up. If you have kids, put it into a savings account for them, and by the time they are 18, they will have a nice amount of money.

Look at the fees you are paying to institutions like your bank and any bills that you pay. You may be paying for services you don’t need or that you could get for less with another company. Your bank may be charging you all sorts of fees for convenience payments, paper statements, etc. See where you can knock off just a few dollars from each bill and that can add up to a lot.

It’s crucial to have an emergency savings account just in case something unexpected happens. You should be putting a percentage of your income into a savings account already, but you should have a separate account for emergencies. Being prepared for a disastrous situation can save you a lot of stress.

It can be much, much easier to get into debt without realizing it if we are paying by credit card versus paying by cash. Because of high interest rates, we often end up paying much, much more when we pay by credit card than we would if we used cash.

It is impossible to deny the fact that most people are interested in maximizing their financial situations even under the most challenging circumstances. In order to accomplish that goal, it is necessary to arm yourself with a diverse group of principles and tips. Start with the advice in this piece, and you will be well on your way to creating the financial future you desire.