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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.
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.
Get rid of your credit cards to improve your financial situation. Credit cards charge huge interest rates and their fees can be massive as well. It can also be very tempting to run up a larger balance than you can comfortably pay off each month. Instead of plastic, give cash only a try.
To keep from draining your bank accounts, define a budget and stick to it. Estimate how much you spend every month on bills, groceries, travel expenses and entertainment. Allow very little leeway and put the rest of your paycheck in your savings account in case of emergencies that were not accounted for in your budget.
If you are a college student, make sure that you sell your books at the end of the semester. Often, you will have a lot of students at your school in need of the books that are in your possession. Also, you can put these books online and get a large percentage of what you originally paid for them.
One important step in repairing your credit is to first make sure that your monthly expenses are covered by your income, and if they aren’t, figuring out how to cover expenses. If you continue to fail to pay your bills, your debt situation will continue to get worse even as you try to repair your credit.
Make sure you are carrying cash or your debit card for small purchases. You do not want to have to put small purchases on your credit card and end up paying interest on them. Some merchants also put restrictions on purchases made with a credit card not allowing you to put under 10 dollars on it.
If you know how to do improvements to your home, you shouldn’t hire a professional. You can even take a home improvement class or find videos online to help you.
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.
When it comes to saving money, one important point to consider is that you will want to look for coupons as often as possible. This will save you enormous amounts of money in the long run. Check newspapers, in-store fliers, and the store’s website for money saving deals.
Consider working with a financial professional if you want to truly take the reins of your financial situation. A financial professional can come to you via a one on one meeting, or even by taking a class. The information they can provide you with will allow you to get your debt under control. You can also learn valuable tips about investing and saving for the future.
Buy tires for your car, two at a time. They aren’t cheaper that way but it will be much easier on your pocketbook than buying all four at once! For safety reasons, it is often advisable to ask your mechanic to rotate the tires that were on the front of your vehicle to the back and put the new ones on the front.
Don’t throw away money! If you have an item you no longer want, don’t just toss it. Look online or in your local newspapers “for sale”ï¿½ ads to find out what it might be worth then advertise it for sale. If you have quite a few items, have a yard sale. You have spent money to obtain your items, you shouldn’t lose money when you are finished with them.
Be sure to satisfy the credit counseling requirement for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy reform law that was passed in 2005 requires that anyone who enters bankruptcy must complete an accredited credit counseling course before the bankruptcy can be discharged. Don’t get taken by sharks. Many non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) branches offer low-cost courses that meet the requirements.
To keep your savings account healthy, arrange for your bank to take automatic withdrawals out of every check. Start with a small amount that you know you can comfortably afford to set aside, and as you get more accustomed to budgeting with less money, increase the size of the withdrawals, incrementally over time.
Get a copy of your credit report. You may not be in any real trouble, but keeping an eye on your credit report keeps you aware of your financial picture. You can also check the credit report for any mistakes so you can take care of them at your leisure instead of rushing to do so.
Remember that you have to have credit to get credit. Everyone should have one credit card that they use and pay off in full each month to avoid finance charges. It takes discipline, but lenders look to see that you can manage a little debt and are more likely to offer you larger loans for large purchases such as a new home.
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.