You are considering a program of personal finance. What are your long-term and short-term goals? Are you planning for retirement or just for a nice vacation next summer? Once your goal is clear, you have to get very practical. How much money is coming in? What are the risks and rewards of a given plan?
If you are searching for a mortgage or auto loan, do your shopping relatively quickly. Unlike with other types of credit (e.g. credit cards), a number of inquiries within a short period of time for the purpose of securing a mortgage or auto loan won’t hurt your score very much.
Carry an envelope with you at all times. Use it to preserve any receipts or business cards you receive. Keeping your receipts is a good idea, since they provide records of your transactions. Keeping your receipts helps you have proof of your purchases in the event that your credit card is incorrectly charged.
Make note of free financial services whenever they are mentioned. Banks often tell their customers about free services they offer at the most inopportune times. The wise customer does not let these opportunities slip away. If a teller offers the customer free financial planning services when he or she is in a rush, for example, the customer can make note of the offer and come back to take advantage of it at a better time.
Re-check your tax withholding allowances every year. There are many change of life events that can effect these. Some examples are getting married, getting divorced, or having children. By checking them yearly you will make sure you’re declaring correctly so that too much or too little money is not withheld from your paychecks.
Taking a job at a store that carries many thing that are of interest to you can be a great decision. Not only will you earn a paycheck for working at that store, but will also receive an employee discount that can be used to save money on things bought there, providing two benefits to your personal finances.
If you are trying to repair your credit score, remember that the credit bureaus see how much you charge, not how much you pay off. If you max out a card but pay it at the end of the month, the amount reported to the bureaus for that month is 100% of your limit. Reduce the amount you charge to your cards, in order to improve your credit score.
Whenever possible, pay with cash. Carrying cash is a tangible reminder of how much or little money you have remaining, to meet your upcoming needs and expenses. Unlike debit and credit cards, cash is accepted practically everywhere and is perpetually free of annoying surcharges, fees and confusing fine print.
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.
Sometimes one form of a good is just as good but cheaper than another. Frozen vegetables are often a great example; frozen green beans are just as crisp and tasty as fresh green beans, and often more nutritious due to nutrient degradation after travel time, but cost half as much or less, especially during the winter.
There are a lot of things that we have become accustomed to having that are not necessary. When budgets get tight, these are the first things that need to go. Your high definition sports package, while entertaining, is not necessary for your survival. Trim the fat from your spending and reap the benefits of saving instead.
Starting your kids out early and teaching them about personal financial issues, is a great way to help them in the future. Teach them the importance of saving by getting them a piggy bank, and let them understand what it means to work by paying for chores completed. Try to keep credit out of the equation.
After reading these tips you have probably already sketched out a plan in your mind for achieving your goal. If that goal is a trip to the French Alps next summer, you will have checked out airfares and hotels. Whatever the goal, practical planning now will enable you to achieve it.