Personal finance can be easy to manage with the use of tools, such as excel or other personal banking software. The best practice is to make sure that you pay your monthly bills at the beginning of the month. This assures that you will not forget a bill and end up with late payment fees. Managing your personal finances by utilizing a tool to keep track of what has been paid and how much yo have spent, also allows you to refer back and see past years’ finances and compare how you are doing today, compared to the past.
Consider using a re-loadable check card. If the thought of your credit or debit cards getting lost or stolen on your trip makes you too nervous, you can always use re-loadable check cards. You can find them at most retail stores. It is arguably safer and easier than carrying around cash.
A good rule of thumb for savings, is to put away 10% of your income each payday into a savings account. Make sure that you don’t have a debit or credit card linked to this account, as it is too tempting to spend it if you find something you can’t seem to live without.
Avoid using the mall to meet your entertainment needs. This often leads to spending money you don’t have and charging things that you don’t really need. Try to shop only when you have a specific item to buy and a specific amount to spend. This will help you to stay on budget.
When you make note of expenses in your check ledger, always round up your numbers to the next dollar. When you make a deposit, round down. In this way, you will build a little padding into your checking account to help you avoid overdrafts. When your “slush fund” has built up enough to help you eliminate monthly fees, continue deducting them anyway. They will be set aside in your checking account and will add to your savings.
Improving your personal finances is all about taking a real look at what your spending and deciding what’s important and what’s not. Bringing a lunch to work might be a great way to save money, but it may not be practical for you. Maybe giving up the expensive cappuccino and just drinking coffee in the morning would work better. You need to live within your means, but you still need to find what will work best for you.
After you finish a meal with your family, do not throw away the leftovers. Instead, wrap these up and use this food as part of a meal the next day or as a snack during the night. Conserving every piece of food is very important in reducing your grocery costs each month.
If you save your change from cash purchases, it can accrue over time to a nice chunk of money, that you can use to supplement your personal finances anyway you want. It can be used for something that you have been wanting but couldn’t afford, such as a new guitar or if you want to make it work for you, it can be invested.
Try to avoiding using your credit card unless it is absolutely necessary. For smaller purchases, go the cash route. New legislation allows stores to require a credit card minimum of $10 for transactions. Make sure to carry cash or a debit card if you intend to make under $10 in purchases.
Flexible spending accounts can be used for a variety of expenses. If you incur medical costs, or have a child that you pay a daycare bill, a flexible spending account can save you money. The money in these accounts comes from pretax dollars, lowering your IRS obligation as well. There are rules to set one up; a tax professional can help.
If somebody is thinking about getting something that costs too much they may want to ask their family to help them out. If the whole family can use it, they should pool their money in order to buy it.
Ordering items that are in limited edition productions or getting the items pre-ordered before everyone else can get it in stores will often allow one to resell it for a higher price than they initially paid. This difference in prices translates into a gain for ones personal finances for a quick resale.
Find out if you will get a discount for making your payments automatically. Many times if you mail your payment you will be charged as much as $5.00 per month. You may find that there is a nice discount for you if you set up an automatic payment through your checking account or credit card.
Never take out cash advances from your credit card. Not only will you immediately have to start paying interest on the amount, but you will also miss out on the standard grace period for repayment. Furthermore, you will pay steeply increased interest rates as well, making it an option that should only be used in desperate times.
When contemplating moving to a different state to take a higher paying job, don’t forget about potentially higher costs of living. Avoid any surprises by investigating costs for food, utilities and the size of home you want ahead of time.
To be sure you are on top of things, you should use a tool to keep track of what has been paid and what is still outstanding. Make sure that you either, choose a point in time to manage this or refer to it frequently, in order to verify that you have not left out any important bills that require payment during that time period.