While it is sometimes difficult to consider something as seemingly inconsequential as a week’s groceries as an investment, that is exactly what they are. By wisely choosing what we spend our money on, whether that choice is between a groceries or a night out on the town or perhaps between a home or a luxury vehicle, we are deciding our financial future.
In order to avoid personal finance disasters, make sure you have at least three months equivalent of your salary in the bank. This will mean that if you do run into difficulties, for instance losing your job or facing other unexpected expenses like house or car repairs, you’ll be able to cover the cost.
For those individuals that have credit card debt, the best return on your money would be to minimize or pay off those credit card balances. Generally, credit card debt is the most expensive debt for any household, with some interest rates that exceed 20%. Start with the credit card that charges the most in interest, pay it off first, and set a goal to pay off all credit card debt.
If you’re very good at paying your credit card bills on time, get a card that is affiliated with your favorite airline or hotel. The miles or points you accumulate can save you a bundle in transportation and accommodation costs. Most credit cards offer bonuses for certain purchases as well, so always ask to gain the most points.
If you have a credit card without a rewards program, consider applying for one that earns you miles. Combine a credit card that earns miles with a frequent flier rewards program from your favorite airline and you’ll fly for free every now and again. Make sure to use your miles before they expire though.
An important tip to consider when working to repair your credit is to consider hiring an attorney who knows applicable laws. This is only important if you have found that you are in deeper trouble than you can manage on your own, or if you have incorrect information that you were not able to rectify on your own.
Set up a deduction from your paycheck to automatically go to your savings account. Saving is much easier when it requires no further conscious action. As you begin to think of your spendable income as the new, smaller amount, you can adjust your budget accordingly while your savings keep growing with every deposit.
An income tax refund is not the most efficient way to save. If you get a large refund every year, you should probably lower the amount of withholding and invest the difference where it will earn some interest. If you lack the discipline to save regularly, start an automatic deduction from your paycheck or an automatic transfer to your savings account.
Take advantage of alert services that many banks offer to online customers. Most banks will send you an email or call you if any suspicious activity is detected. Having a large withdrawal or low balance alert will protect you from fraud and overdraft.
If your employer offers a match to your 401K, make sure you’re contributing at least the amount they match. When an employer offers to match your funds, they are essentially giving you free money. The money you contribute will help you reach retirement goals and is tax free. It’s a win-win situation, all around.
If you discover an error on your credit report, your first step is to write a letter explaining this error to that credit bureau. The second step would be to contact the creditor who made the error and ask them to fix it. If you attack the problem from both ends, you are more guaranteed to see a resolution.
If you’re trying to improve your personal budget, one easy way to get yourself in the mindset is to get your paycheck put directly into a savings account rather than checking or cash. This will help get you in the habit of saving money and not thinking of it all as disposable income.
Even the purchases we make on a day to day basis can ultimately spell the difference between financial success and financial failure. The tips provided above help us make the types of decisions that will make the difference. Investments, after all, come in all shapes and sizes. So too do money bottomless pits which always ending up costing us more than they pay back.