In these uncertain times, keeping a close and careful eye on your personal finances is more important than ever. To make sure you’re making the most of your money, here are some tips and ideas that are easy to implement, covering just about every aspect of saving, spending, earning, and investing.
When traveling abroad, save on eating expenses by dining at establishments favored by locals. The restaurants in hotels and tourist areas tend to overprice their food, that is why it is good to research on places on where locals eat. Food that is higher in quality and lower in price can always be found.
Put money in your savings account every month by setting up a direct transfer from checking to savings. This can be a great way to save money. You can also make use of this plan to save up for major purchases or expenses, such as vacations and weddings.
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Before purchasing a car, build up a strong down payment amount. Save money everywhere you can for a while in order to be able to put a significant amount of money down when you purchase. Having a large down payment will help with your monthly payments and it may make it easier to get better interest rates even with bad credit.
To avoid surprise deductions from your checking account, access your account online at least once a month. Scroll back through the previous month and make note of all the recurring automatic deductions from your account. Go ahead and deduct those in your check ledger now – even if it puts you in a negative balance. The money won’t be gone until the debit is posted, but you will know not to spend money on unnecessary items until you have built up enough of a balance to cover your recurring automatic debits.
Sit down and add up all the money that you have coming in to the house each month. Then sit down and add up the amount that your monthly bills cost. Subtract the money you spend on your bills from your monthly income. The number you come up with is the amount of money you have to spend on everything else – food, clothing, medicine, luxury items, etc. Don’t go over this amount. This will insure that you have enough money to pay all of your bills and aren’t spending more than you’re earning.
Read books about personal finance and make a point to do this consistently. Motivational books about personal finance keep you on your toes and help make you make great strides in this department. Dave Ramsey has some really great books out, and I definitely recommend his book “Financial Peace.” It is a great read!
Don’t lie to your spouse about your spending. Not only is it bad for your marriage, it’ll mess with your finances. For instance, your spouse may be seriously considering buying a new car or taking a trip. Those thoughts could be dashed because of your covert spending. Come clean to minimize the damage.
Many people incorrectly believe that it is cheaper to own than rent. That is not true because when you own a home you are responsible for more than just your monthly house payment. You have to pay for utilities, property taxes, and any repairs that may need to be done to the place.
Put timers on your electrical lights. It is amazing how much leaving one or two unneeded lights burning in the house will inflate your electrical bill over time. Children, in particular, have problems remembering to turn lights off. In rooms like the bathroom, where time spent there is minimal, timers can really pay off.
If you are planning to adopt a child, do it this year. The government has created a larger tax break for those people who choose to adopt. It is not just for special cases, but all adoptions. This tax break can even be refunded if you don’t owe any taxes.
If a flexible spending account is available where you work, then you need to sign up for it. This allows you to pay for medical and transportation expenses with pre-tax dollars instead of using the money after it has been taxed. This service is of a great advantage to your wallet.
Consider signing up for a flexible spending account (FSA). FSA allows you to pay for dependent care expenses, commuting and medical expenses and prescriptions or health insurance co-payments using pre-tax dollars. This simply means that you don’t have to pay taxes from the funds you use to pay these regularly occurring expenditures.
An area of personal finance that sometimes gets overlooked is insurance. If you were to lose your job or become ill, even a substantial savings account could be depleted pretty quickly. Many mortgages, loans and credit cards offer insurance that will pay your payments during such events. Disability insurance is another way to ensure a source of income if you were to get hurt. It is usually not as much as your regular salary, but combined with your savings, it can cushion the blow a bit.
With gas prices skyrocketing, we all need to find ways to conserve fuel. For example, don’t go to the store until you have another errand in the same area. Schedule multiple appointments for one day to avoid many trips that will deplete your gas tank. Think of some other ways to conserve and you will have more cash in your wallet!
Here is some helpful info for improving your personal finances! Pay down loans with high interest rates first. Many people make the mistake of borrowing loans at very high interest rates. The payments for these loans, however, can be almost 100% interest if you just make the minimum payment. Play it safe by paying these high interest loans down first.
Have more than one bank account. You have many things that you need your money for, including your daily expenses, long term savings and any investments. You should have a different bank account for each purpose. This creates order in your financial life and it makes it easier to get an idea of how your finances are doing overall.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun, use solar panels to save on your energy bill. When you install solar panels, your electricity meter actually runs backward during the day, as it adds power to the grid. Most solar panels will pay for themselves in 7-10 years of use. Watch out for nasty HOA restrictions on solar panels, though.
With the above tips in mind, you are ready to embark on the path to better personal finance. Educating yourself is the best way to achieve success with anything. This is especially true with personal finance, so take these tips to heart to improve the way you approach your finances.