Being able to properly manage your personal finances is one of the most important skills you can have. If you have never studied up on personal financial management, chances are that you are making mistakes that are costing you a great deal of money. This article is loaded with personal finance tips to help you better your life.
To stay on top of your money, create a budget and stick to it. Write down your income and your bills and decide what needs to be paid and when. You can easily create and use a budget with either pen and paper or by using a computer program.
Get a rewards credit card. No-fee reward cards are the best if you need a credit card. Reward cards give you rewards on various things that you typically use such as hotel rooms, airline tickets and store rewards. Be sure you pay the card off every month and pay on time to avoid interest and late fees.
A great way to keep on top of your personal finance, is to set up a direct debit to be taken out of your paycheck each month. This means you’ll save without having to make the effort of putting money aside and you will be used to a slightly lower monthly budget. You won’t face the difficult choice of whether to spend the money in your account or save it.
If you have collection agencies coming after you, you should be aware that your debt will eventually expire after a certain amount of time if it is not collected. Talk to a professional about the timeline for your debt to expire. Know these deadlines and never pay out to collection agencies that attempt to collect expired debt.
Make big purchases a goal. Instead of putting a large item purchase on a credit card and paying for it later, make it a goal for the future. Start putting aside money each week until you have saved enough to buy it outright. You will appreciate the purchase more, and not be drowning in debt because of it.
If a credit card is close to its limit, consider transferring portions of the balance to a different card. Having a card that is almost maxed out is a huge blow to your FICO score. Transferring part of the balance will even up the credit you have available on your cards.
Make sure to always pay yourself first. You should be putting at least 10% of your pre-tax income into a savings account. This is the money that is going to keep you from losing the house during an emergency. Do not skip on it and do not forget about it.
Keep good records of your expenses. If you aren’t keeping accurate records, it’s doubtful that you are claiming all you are allowed at tax time. It also makes your situation very difficult if an audit should happen. A digital or paper file can work just fine, so work on creating the system that works for you.
Baby sitting can be a way to earn money that allows you to stay in a comfortable environment the whole time. You must have a good image for people to trust you with their home and more importantly, their children. However, if you do a good job, you can get recommended to others and further your personal finances.
Contribute to an IRA. Not the Irish Republican Army but an Individual Retirement Account. If you or your spouse work, you qualify to put money into an IRA. The account can be with a mutual fund, bank, credit union, insurance company or other trustee. Deposits for a traditional IRA are tax deductible and returns are not taxed until withdrawn. A Roth IRA deposit is done with after-tax dollars but withdrawals are not taxed.
A great personal finance tip that can help you save money is to be mindful of how much water you’re using in your household. Water can add up, especially if you’re using it carelessly. Make sure you fix any leaky faucets so that you aren’t wasting any water.
Make note of free financial services whenever they are mentioned. Banks often tell their customers about free services they offer at the most inopportune times. The wise customer does not let these opportunities slip away. If a teller offers the customer free financial planning services when he or she is in a rush, for example, the customer can make note of the offer and come back to take advantage of it at a better time.
Create an up to date financial plan. This will allow you to see how you are doing in all areas of your finances. Review any insurance plans, income taxes, estate and retirement planning, investments, savings and current debts. Be specific in your goals and be realistic. For more complex financial planning, it is a good idea to seek the services of a CPA.
To have long-term success in financial planning, consider debt investment opportunities. If you have a student loan at 2% interest but you can get a 2.75% savings rate in a bank account, it makes more financial sense in the long run to make the minimum monthly payments, while saving up a lump sum to pay it off entirely. Coversely, any debt with an interest rate higher than a savings interest rate should get priority.
To make a realistic budget for financial planning purposes, start where you are, not where you want to be. Track every penny for a month, but do not be immediately self-conscious about it. Get receipts for everything and keep them in a box. At the end of a month, you can sort them all out and see exactly what your spending is like. That is your budget, and it is easier to tweak when you are unemotional and honest.
As was stated in the first paragraph of this article, having the ability to properly manage your personal finances is extremely important. Without the right knowledge, you will waste tons of cash, and miss out on many money making opportunities. Take advantage of the tips in this article to secure your financial health and improve your life.