There are thousands of Americans who are in bad financial situations because they don’t take any time to manage their budget each month. Make sure that you stay on top of your personal finances by arming yourself with the following tips. Once you have a basic understanding of finances, your life will become much less stressful.
Triple check your credit card statements the moment you arrive home. Make sure to pay special attention in looking for duplicates of any charges, extra charges you don’t recognize, or simple overcharges. If you spot any unusual charges, contact both your credit card company and the business that charged you immediately.
One of the ways that you can save money to improve your financial standing is to shut off the car when you are parked. Keeping your car running could waste gas, which rises in price every single day. Shut your car off any time that you can to save additional cash.
Never use a credit card for a cash advance. Cash advances carry with them extremely high interest rates and stiff penalties if the money is not paid back on time. Strive to build a savings account and use that instead of a cash advance if a true emergency should arise.
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.
If your company offers a flexible spending account be sure to put it to use. Flexible spending accounts can be great for covering medical expenses and daycare expenses. These kind of accounts will let you set some pretax money aside for these expenses. There may be terms and conditions with these types of accounts. It is in your best interest to talk with a tax professional if you do not understand how flexible spending works.
Keep track of the money you are spending every month and make a budget. This way you can see where you need to cut back on your spending, which will make it easier to save. Make a budget and track every single expense you have, then look at it at the end of the month, so you can know where you stand.
In order to save money every month, do not sign up for unnecessary leisure services. This will just end up costing you money and more stress. For instance, if you do not watch all of your cable channels, think of getting a smaller package. If you do not use all of your cell phone minutes, think of downgrading to a smaller plan.
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.
An easy way to save for something is to put all of your change in a dish or jar at the end of each day. This is a great way to have some extra spending for things that aren’t considered necessities, like a vacation or that concert ticket. You can put all the change together or have separate jars for each type of coin.
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’re trying to save money for a big purchase, but find that it’s not easy to stick to a budget every day, week after week, here’s a different strategy. Make the effort to save money every other day. For instance, pack a bag lunch three days a week instead of buying lunch out. Put the money you save into a savings account towards your planned purchase.
A great personal finance tip is to make sure you buy appliances that will help you save energy. Appliances that can help you save energy usually have an Energy Star sticker on them. Purchasing these appliances can go a long way in helping you save money by reducing energy.
Choose your credit cards wisely. If you need to use them for everyday purchases, find the ones advertising rewards. There are lots of banks offering 1-5% cash back, airline frequent flyer miles or discounts when you buy certain products. Choose the card that matches your lifestyle and reduces your costs.
In today’s world there should be no reason to have a checking account that is costing you money. While they may not yield much interest, there are plenty of free checking accounts available, and many are starting to give you a percentage of your cash back made on debit card purchases.
To make sure you are prepared for unexpected expenses, start putting money away in an emergency savings account. One of the easiest ways to do this is by scheduling automatic savings deposits to be taken out of each paycheck. Then, the next time you have an unplanned expense such as your car breaking down you will have the money on hand to cover it.
After incorporating these tips into your life, you will see how much more control you have over your money than you previously believed. It is no longer necessary for you to just leave the month’s bills up to fate. By being pro-active, you will build a savings that will help you well into the future.