With the economy struggling to get back on its feet, many people are struggling to keep their heads above water financially. If you’re one of those people, you’ve come to the right place. This article compiles a bunch of different tips to give you a starting point to managing your personal finances.
When using an ATM while traveling, make sure the bank itself is open. ATMs have an annoying tendency to eat cards. If your card is eaten at a bank that is hundreds of miles from home, this can be a major inconvenience. If the bank is open, you will more likely be able to retrieve your card.
Start building up an emergency fund today. In an ideal world you should have at least three months, preferable six months, living expenses stored away. Put it in an easy access, high interest savings account. If you don’t have any money saved, remember that it is never too late to start saving.
Budget, budget, budget – yes, whatever you do, make a budget. The only way to know what is coming in and what is going out is with a budget and a ledger. Whether it’s with pen and paper or a computer program, sit down and get it done. Your finances will thank you for it.
Never use your credit card for a cash advance. Just because your card offers it doesn’t mean you should use it. The interest rates on cash advances are extremely high and utilizing a cash advance will hurt your credit score. Just say no to the cash advance.
Set up an automatic overdraft payment to your checking account from a savings account or line of credit. Many credit unions and banks do not charge for this service, but even if it costs a little it still beats bouncing a check or having an electronic payment returned if you lose track of your balance.
Be aware of credit repair scams. They will ask you to pay up front when the law requires they are paid after services are rendered. You will recognize a scam when they tell you that they can remove bad credit marks even if they are true. A legitimate company will make you aware of your rights.
Get yourself a free checking account. Checking accounts these days charge an average of about $13.00 in monthly fees, and usually require a minimum balance to keep the account free. Switch to a no-fee account that requires no minimum balance and does not charge per transaction. Try smaller banks in your community, online-only banks or credit unions.
To be more organized with your finances, keep a monthly bill calendar on hand. Each month, write down the bills you owe on the dates that they are due. Determine which paycheck each bill needs to be paid out of and make note of that as well. Mark off each bill as you pay it, and you’ll always know where you stand with your monthly finances.
Consider signing up for a flexible spending account. An FSA lets you pay for medical, dependent care or transportation costs with pretax dollars put aside at each paycheck. By paying with pretax dollars, you are basically getting a discount on all these expenses. If your job offers a flexible spending account, contact the employee benefits department about it.
If you are trying to improve your finances one of the very first steps you should take is to pay down any credit cards that have a high rate of interest, focusing on the highest balance at the highest interest first. This will free up money in your monthly budget the quickest.
If you’re trying to get out of debt and build your financial future, taking on a second job might be the way to go. Delivering pizza or working at the local grocery store certainly isn’t glamorous, but the extra money each week might really help you out. Making just a couple hundred dollars each month might mean you get out of debt a year sooner, or have a few thousand dollars saved for your next car. It can be well worth the effort.
A great personal-finance tip is to hold on to your clothes as long as possible. You don’t need to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe every single year to look and stay fashionable. Part of fashion is coming up with your own ideas, and you can definitely do that with older clothes.
Pay attention to how high or low you are setting your heating and air conditioning. Even adjusting the temperature by a couple of degrees can make a huge difference when it comes to your energy bill. Check the forecast in advance and determine whether or not you truly need to have your system turned on. If you can go without, do so.
Do not put all your eggs in the same basket. It is safer to keep your savings in different accounts and to create a diverse portfolio of investments. Do not put all your assets in your name: share them equally between you and your spouse. If something should happen, this is the best way to guarantee you will not lose everything you owe.
If you have been using credit cards for emergency purposes, it would be a good idea to establish an emergency fund to use instead. Then you can proceed to work on your credit card debt. When choosing how much money to save, keep in mind regular problems that might pop up and how much money they are going to require, like car repairs or medical matters.
Now that you’ve read all of our tips, you should be ready to begin managing your personal finances properly. If you’re new to the world of personal finance, you may consider bookmarking this article so that you can come back to it when you need to. If you need more information, there are plenty of other pieces of advice floating around just waiting to help you.