Learn how to budget from an early age. If you are just starting out, use the following advice to steer clear from a personal finance disaster. You may think you need that new car or expensive apartment yet a few simple tips can keep you out of debt. Following them may mean you have to give up a few things now, but remember you can enjoy them later!
If you live close to work, consider biking or walking to reduce gas expenditure, which will improve your personal finances a little. With fuel prices on the continuous rise, anytime that you can avoid using the car you will save. While some trips are necessary in the car, the shorter routes you can walk are often the ones you have the most stop and go. Cut the car out of the equation on these and watch your balance rise.
Always consider a used car before buying new. Pay cash when possible, to avoid financing. A car will depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot. Should your financial situation change and you have to sell it, you might find it’s worth less than you owe. This can quickly lead to financial failure if you’re not careful.
Keep track of debit card purchases. Always make a note on paper or your phone as soon as you swipe that card so that you do not forget. Debit cards are very convenient, but also make it easy to overspend a budget, and unless you keep a record it is way too easy to overdraw a bank account without realizing it.
If you are having trouble with money, apply for a credit card at your local bank. Credit cards are very valuable as they allow you additional time to pay back the money that you owe and can go a long way in establishing a firm credit score for benefits in the future.
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.
Attempting to stay as healthy as possible and curing any minor sicknesses at home will prevent one from making trips to the hospital that are not necessary. These trips that are avoided will save one large amounts out of their personal finances. Any trip that is avoided will surely save one money.
Get into a real savings habit. The hardest thing about savings is forming the habit of setting aside money — of paying yourself first. Rather than berate yourself each month when you use up all your funds, be sneaky and set up an automatic deduction from your main bank account into a savings account. Set it up so that you never even see the transaction happening, and before you know it, you’ll have the savings you need safely stashed away.
If you are the type of person that likes to use a credit card, make sure you are using one that offers rewards. You can earn things like cash back or you can pick out items in a catalog. These can be great presents to give to people for birthdays or holidays.
Be willing to shop around at banks. One bank might have a better interest rate, another credit union might have free checking that works out better for you. Don’t be afraid to have multiple accounts to take advantage of all the promotional offers that you are eligible for. But look around.
If you want to get your personal finances under control, try freezing your credit cards. Credit cards are good for emergencies, but are often used to buy things we can’t afford. Avoid this spur of the moment spending by literally freezing your card. Put it in a container of water and freeze it. You can still use your card in an emergency, but having to thaw out the credit card will give you time to rethink those impulse buys that lead to more debt.
Starting out on your own can be an exciting time and a time when personal finance issues can spiral out of control. Use the above tips to keep yourself in check so you do not end up racking up debt you will have to pay back for the rest of your life.