Personal finance is an essential part of life, but that doesn’t mean you are naturally going to get the gist of things without the right training, education, and resources. If you are unprepared and unclear on the processes involved, you could make costly mistakes that you could have otherwise, avoided. Take these tips with you as you get into any type of personal finance projects that will require more understanding.
If you have determined that your budget for a home mortgage is larger than your current rent payment, start putting that difference away each month. This will give you a real-world idea of what that cost does to your living expenses. It also helps you build up savings towards your down payment.
Never use a credit card for cash advances. The interest rate on a cash advance can be almost double the interest rate on a purchase. The interest on cash advances is also calculated from the moment you withdrawal the cash, so you will still be charged some interest even if you pay off your credit card in full at the end of the month.
Don’t leave your wallet or purse unattended. While thieves may not take your cards for a spending spree, they can capture the information from them and use it for online purchases or cash advances. You won’t know it until the money is gone and it’s too late. Keep your financial information close at all times.
Check and see if you are getting the best cell phone plan for your needs. If you’ve been on the same plan for the past few years, you probably could be saving some money. Most companies will do a free review of your plan and let you know if something else would work better for you, based on your usage patterns.
Start saving money for your children’s college education as soon as they are born. College is a very large expense, but by saving a small amount of money every month for 18 years you can spread the cost. Even if you children do not go to college the money saved can still be used towards their future.
A little maintenance, such as keeping the proper tire pressure or changing oil and other fluids at proper times, saves a lot of money by preventing damage. Tires and engines last longer and the mechanic may spot other problems while they are still small and relatively easy to repair. Your car runs better, gets better gas mileage and you save money.
A good tip when it comes to personal finances, is to not buy impulsively. A good majority of all retail spending is on impulsive purchases. Rather, if you see something you want, analyze it on a scale of want to need and then give yourself a 24 hour cool down period before buying it. This should stop a lot of impulse buys.
Dining out is something that you should do occasionally but it can really take a toll on your bank account over time. If you go out to eat more than one time a week, you will slowly begin to see your savings decline. Limit eating at restaurants to maximize the balance of your bank account.
If you save your change from cash purchases, it can accrue over time to a nice chunk of money, that you can use to supplement your personal finances anyway you want. It can be used for something that you have been wanting but couldn’t afford, such as a new guitar or if you want to make it work for you, it can be invested.
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.
A great way to avoid being overburdened by expenses that only come around once a year is to set aside a little money out of each paycheck. To do this, divide your yearly expenses by the number of paychecks you receive in a year. The next time the expense is due, you’ll be ready for it.
Make a will. It is vital to ensure the protection of your loved ones in case of your death. Not only will your assets be handled according to your directions, but more importantly a will assigns guardianship of your minor children. Lawyers or financial planners can ensure that your will is a valid legal document and also offer advice about tax-saving strategies.
Personal finance could be difficult to understand, but only if you aren’t taking the time to learn what everything means, how it all works, and how it all fits into your life’s financial matters. You could be successful in your attempts, but only if you use tips like these to get through each process.