When we are careful in the way we spend our money, it enhances the likelihood that over time our personal wealth will grow rather than stagnate or even shrink. This is what personal finance is all about. By taking even the smallest steps to ensure we are spending our money wisely, we are taking steps to secure our future.
Stay tuned to world news so you are aware of possible global market movements. Many Americans don’t pay attention to news outside of the United States, but this can be a mistake if you trade currencies or have significant investments. The more you know about the world around you, the better prepared you will be to make informed decisions regarding investments and the market.
To assure you always have money when you need it, create an emergency fund. It is best to have between three and six months income in a savings account that you can easily access. Doing this will assure you have money set aside in times when you absolutely need it.
Try to pay more than the minimum payments on your credit cards. When you only pay the minimum amount off your credit card each month it can end up taking years or even decades to clear the balance. Items that you bought using the credit card can also end up costing you over twice the purchase price.
One sure fire way to save money is to prepare meals at home. Eating out can get expensive, especially when it’s done several times a week. In the addition to the cost of the food, there is also the cost of gas (to get to your favorite restaurant) to consider. Eating at home is healthier and will always provide a cost savings as well.
Pay off your high interest debts before saving. If you are saving in an account that pays 5%, but owe money on a card that charges 10%, you are losing money by not paying off that debt. Make it a priority to pay your high interest cards off and then stop using them. Saving will become easier and more beneficial as well.
Your FICO score is heavily influenced by your credit card balance. The more you owe, the worse your score will become. If you want to lower your score, pay off your balance. Make sure to keep your card balance at least 20 percent below its maximum limit.
If at all possible, pay off your credit card balances in full. Only put as much as you can pay off on the credit card each month. It will show that you are a responsible borrower and it will increase your credit rating as well as make it easier to take out lines of credit in the future.
If you find that all of your bills are due at roughly the same time of the month, contact your various providers and see what options are available for you to change your monthly due dates. This avoids spreading your paychecks too thin, during each pay period and allows you to manage your cash flow more efficiently.
Collect discarded popcorn tins. They make great rodent proof storage containers for staples that you buy in bulk. There is nothing more disappointing to think you have stocked your pantry with staples for the year and then to find that the flour, meal and other stables have been ruined by mice. Throwing out food costs money!
Many people think that unreasonable fees and minimum balances are a normal part of banking, but that is not the case. Most banks actually offer free checking accounts, and some offer accounts that become free if you use a debit card regularly or sign up for direct deposits. Avoiding those pesky fees will help you save money.
Make a budget and stick to it. Many people make a spending plan for themselves, but quickly fudge on it or throw it out all together, when times get hard. Taking control of your finances means taking control of yourself and doing what needs to be done to stay within your means.
Personal finance is determined as much by the small decisions we make in life as by the larger ones. Many small purchases over time, after all, add up to the cost of one larger purchase. Whether the two totals equate to value is something that should be considered well before that first dollar is ever laid down in payment.