The state of the economy is forcing many families to take a long, hard, look at their wallets. Focusing on spending and saving may feel frustrating, but taking good care of your personal finances will only benefit you in the long run. Here are some great personal finance tips to help get you started.
Make your home more eco-friendly by switching all the light bulbs in your house to compact fluorescent lights. They will save you money on your monthly power or energy bill and also last much longer than traditional bulbs, meaning you won't have to spend as much money, or time replacing them.
Another great way to help your financial situation is to purchase generic alternatives to branded products. For example, buy the store brand corn rather than popular brands. Most generic products are surprisingly comparable with respect to quality. This tip could save you hundreds on groceries each and every year.
Quite often it is said that if you make more you spend more. The biggest tip I can offer in that case is to try to live below your means. If you can afford that luxury $1000 apartment, don't! Live at a more modest $700 dollar one and pocket the difference perhaps to use as a down payment on a house.
Credit card debt is a major problem in United States. Nowhere else in the world experiences it to the extent we do. Keep yourself out of debt by only using your credit card when you have money in the bank to spend. Alternatively, get a debit card instead of a credit card.
Hiring a credit repair company can help you with some of the legwork involved in cleaning up your credit report, but beware of shady companies that make false or misleading claims. These companies may allege that you can start fresh with a clean credit report by using an Employee Identification number (EIN) rather than your Social Security number. However, they neglect to tell you that requesting an EIN from the IRS for this reason is a federal crime.
When you are taking out money, one thing that you must try to avoid is withdrawing from a different bank than your own. Each withdrawal will cost you between 2 to 4 dollars and can add up over time. Stick to the bank of your choice if you want to minimize your miscellaneous expenses.
If you are trying to improve your credit score, consider finding a way to transfer debt to "invisible" locations. If you can pay a delinquent account off by borrowing from a friend or family member, your credit score will only reflect that you paid it off. If you go this route, make sure to sign something with your lender that gives them the power to take you to court should you fail to pay, for extra security.
If you want to save money, then look hard at your current spending patterns. It is easy to theoretically "wish" you could save money, but actually doing it requires some self-discipline and a little detective work. For one month, write down all of your expenses in a notebook. Commit to writing down everything, such as, morning coffee, taxi fare or pizza delivery for the kids. The more accurate and specific you are, then the better understanding you will get for where your money is really going. Knowledge is power! Scrutinize your log at the end of the month to find the areas you can cut back on and bank the savings. Small changes add up to big dollars over time, but you have to make the effort.
Buy generic brands instead of national brands. With popular name brand products you are paying a premium that often goes towards marketing expenses. Choose the less expensive, generic option instead. There is hardly any difference in performance, taste and quality.
If a person has an interest in animals or already has a large amount of pets, they can turn that interest into a source of personal finances. By doing presentations at parties, informational presentations, or even providing tours at one's home can produce financial benefits to supplement the costs of the animals and more.
Do not rush out and buy the newest product on the market when it first comes out. You may find that waiting until they hype has died down can save you big money in the end. You may not be able to brag to your friends but you will have cash in your pocket!
If your paychecks barely cover your outgoings, you should find out if your credit union or bank offers overdraft protection. Although you may have to pay a little extra each month, the fee for overdrafting could be as much as $20.
There is currently a debate waging over whether you should save all your money or invest it instead. If in doubt, split up your efforts. Saving 70% and investing 30% is a smart move. You can make it an even smarter move by thoroughly vetting the place in which you will be investing your capital.
Have an emergency bank account. This account should be separate from your checking and savings accounts and used only for real emergencies. This will keep you from going further into debt when you do have an emergency, particularly because people do the most spending when they feel they are in a crisis.
As was stated earlier in this article, managing personal finances is not an easy thing to do. To successfully manage your finances, and make your money work for you, takes a lot of education and hard work. By carefully reading this article, and applying what you learn, you can take the first steps toward improving your personal financial situation.