With all due respect to the importance of personal relationships, one of the most important facets of a successful life is personal finance. Making money, keeping it, and growing it makes the rest of your life easier and more enjoyable. Here are some ideas to help increase your personal bottom line.
Always openly communicate with your spouse about your financial situation. It is a proven fact that couples fight more often about money than almost any other subject. Lying to your spouse about frivolous spending, your savings plan, or past debts, can only lead to disaster. Be truthful, open, and honest, to keep your relationship in tip top shape.
Keep your checkbook balanced. It’s really not so hard and can save you the expense and embarrassment of bounced checks and overdrawn fees. Do not just call the bank for a balance and count on having that amount in your account. Some debits and checks may not have cleared yet, resulting in overdrafts when they hit the bank.
Get a checking account that is free. Paying fees to access your money can cost you quite a bit in the long run. Many banks are doing away with free accounts, but a little leg work will help you find what you are looking for. Avoid losing hundreds of dollars to fees every year.
Write all of your expenses down by category. For example, putting all utility bills in one category and credit card bills in another. This will help you get organized and prioritize your bills. This will also be helpful in finding what spending you should cut back on to save money.
Recycle your old VHS tapes and even plastic bags into yarn! They call it “plarn” and avid craftspeople all over are recycling anything that they can twist around a crochet hook or weave through a loom to make useful water proof items out of one-hundred percent recycled products! What can beat free craft material?
When you buy a new car, make the biggest possible down payment. The car depreciates the moment you drive it off the lot, so without the big down payment, you’ll soon owe more than the car is worth (you’ll be upside down on your note). Any change in your finances and you could be in default.
Keep track of where your money goes on a daily basis and review this journal every month. Realizing what you spend the most on can help you decide which areas to cut back in.
It is important to be well educated in order to have personal financial success. People with undergraduate or advance degrees have nearly twice the earning potential of those who lack education beyond high school. A college education is one of the surest ways to double your money.
Increasing your savings is a very good way to improve your personal finance. However, in order to do this successfully you must have a positive attitude toward saving. You should not think of saving as miserly or being cheap. It is about doing what is best for you and improving your current situation. Without the right attitude, it can be very difficult to stop yourself from spending.
Get a flexible spending account through your employer if they have one. This is money that is put aside out of every paycheck that is saved to pay for medical costs or dependent care. The dollars are deducted pre-tax, so you would usually save around 15 percent on these expenses.
Work to keep your credit rating as high as possible. Your interest on loans or credit cards are directly related to your credit score. If your credit score checks out to be low, you could be at risk for being denied housing or cell phone plans. Safeguard your credit score by making good credit decisions.
If you have credit cards, make sure you’re paying off as much as you can every month. The longer it takes for you to pay off your credit cards, the more interest the company will charge you. That means it’ll end up costing you more money to pay them off. It’s better to pay off your cards quickly rather than dragging it out.
These tips should have given you many ideas — and a jump-start to your motivation — to make smart money decisions. Whether it’s earning, saving, investing, or even spending, you can now face the financial world with more confidence and less intimidation. Here’s to a brighter future and your increased net worth!