Getting your personal finances in order and keeping them that way is an important skill – perhaps a more important one now than ever. Between the high-powered financial options anyone can take advantage of and the time-saving shortcuts anyone can abuse, it is all too easy to lose control of your money. Here are some basic tips about hanging on to your personal financial reins.
If you are planning a major trip, consider opening a new credit card to finance it that offers rewards. Many travel cards are even affiliated with a hotel chain or airline, meaning that you get extra bonuses for using those companies. The rewards you rack up can cover a hotel stay or even an entire domestic flight.
Hiring a credit repair company can help you with some of the legwork involved in cleaning up your credit report, but beware of shady companies that make false or misleading claims. These companies may allege that you can start fresh with a clean credit report by using an Employee Identification number (EIN) rather than your Social Security number. However, they neglect to tell you that requesting an EIN from the IRS for this reason is a federal crime.
Never use a credit card for a cash advance. Cash advances carry with them extremely high interest rates and stiff penalties if the money is not paid back on time. Strive to build a savings account and use that instead of a cash advance if a true emergency should arise.
If one wants to make the most of their own personal finances they need to be thrifty with their money. By looking for the best deals, or a way for one to save or make money, a person can always be making the most of their finances. Being conscious of one’s spending will keep them in control of their finances.
To reduce credit card debt completely avoid eating out for three months and apply the extra cash to your debt. This includes fast food and morning coffee runs. You will be surprised at how much money you can save by taking a packed lunch to work with you everyday.
It is important to find a bank that offers a free checking account. Some banks charge a monthly or yearly fee to have a checking out with them. These fees can add up and cost you more than it’s worth. Also, make sure there are no interest fees associated with your account
Sometimes your credit score may be penalized by shutting down all of your credit card accounts at once. You can continue to pay on all of your accounts, but consider carrying only one or two cards in your purse or wallet at any time. You will be forced to carefully choose your credit purchases and avoid temptation.
Every household should have an emergency savings account. Every time you get a paycheck automatically put some aside for savings. This will help you if you ever find that you can not pay a bill or if you lose your job. Having the safety of an emergency savings account can ease anxiety in times of high financial stress.
Personal finance also includes setting goals for yourself and your money. This includes both short and long term goals like paying off your car and figuring out how much you should put away each month towards your retirement. It is helpful to have some goals that work together, for example, how much extra should you pay each month towards your mortgage so that your house is paid off when you retire.
How can you increase your finances? Having a savings account is very important. The best way to do this is to pay you first – before any other bill is paid. Understandably, there are times in life when it’s difficult to save; however, just putting $25 a paycheck aside for savings will add-up over 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.
Since you are already paying for them, make the most of all your employment benefits. That could mean going to the doctor and using your prescription card every time you feel under the weather instead of putting it off until the issue causes you to miss days of unpaid work. That could also mean making the maximum matched contribution to your 401(k).
Gaining control of your finances is not just economically prudent. It can be a source of great personal satisfaction and even pride. Using methods like those outlined above, you can keep a tight leash on your personal finances and bring your money to heel. Personal finance is all about making your money behave the way you want it to.