During difficult economic times, intelligently managing your personal finances can mean the difference between living comfortably, and losing your home or being forced to file for bankruptcy protection. This article was written with the average person in mind. It is designed to help you improve your financial situation by teaching you to intelligently manage your personal finances.
When you are saving for an emergency fund, aim for at least three to six months worth of living expenses. This is not a large amount, considering the difficulty in finding employment if you ever lose your job. In fact, the larger the emergency fund, the better position you would be in to ride out any unforeseen financial catastrophes.
If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments and have no hope of becoming current, see if you qualify for a short sale before letting your home go into foreclosure. While a short sale will still negatively affect your credit rating and remain on your credit report for seven years, a foreclosure has a more drastic effect on your credit score and may even cause an employer to reject your job application.
To stay on top of your money, create a budget and stick to it. Write down your income and your bills and decide what needs to be paid and when. You can easily create and use a budget with either pen and paper or by using a computer program.
Arrange an automatic withdrawal from checking to savings each month. This will help you save money every month. Saving up for a vacation is another great way for you to develop the proper saving habits.
If a person has a nice orchard or a very productive garden they can turn their surplus fruits and vegetables into money for ones personal finances. By selling these extra goods at a farmers market, roadside stand, or even at ones house they can earn money to invest into the garden or any other financial choice.
Dining out is something that you should do occasionally but it can really take a toll on your bank account over time. If you go out to eat more than one time a week, you will slowly begin to see your savings decline. Limit eating at restaurants to maximize the balance of your bank account.
Sign up for online banking alert services that may be offered by your bank. Many banks will send emails or texts when there is activity reported on your account. Alerts that let you know of a low balance or a large withdrawal will help you from overdrafts or fraud.
Make sure you're not overspending on luxury items that you can't actually afford. The most common problem people have is that they're spending more than they're bringing in. If you don't have the money for a luxury item, don't buy it. Instead of putting in on the credit card, put a bit of money aside toward the item each week. It'll save you more in the long run.
Realize that budget is not a four-letter word. It's tough to plan for future expenses if you do not plan ahead, and that's all a budget is -- a little advance planning. Everyone needs a budget, regardless of their income level. Companies pulling in millions per year make budgets. Plan where you want your money to go, and then stick to your budget. You'll thank yourself later.
It is crucial to make sure that you can afford the mortgage on your new potential home. Even if you and your family qualify for a large loan, you may not be able to afford the required monthly payments, which in turn, could force you to have to sell your home.
Save a little money every day. This can be as simple as skipping your morning drink. A frappuccino can cost $4; that's a small indulgence, right? Pocket change? Well, that $4 on your way to work every day costs you over a thousand dollars a year. That could buy you a great vacation.
If you (or your spouse) has earned any type of income, you are eligible to be contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), and you need to be doing this right now. This is a great way to supplement any type of retirement plan that has limits in terms of investing.
Anyone who makes very little money and has trouble paying his rent should get on the waiting list for Section 8 housing as soon as possible. Due to the economy, waiting lists for Section 8 housing are very long, with average waiting times of 1-3 years. Some people, such as those with certain disabilities, can get into units somewhat faster.
In a perfect world, we'd learn all we needed to know about money before we had to enter the real world. However, even in the imperfect world that we live in, it's never too late to learn all you can about personal finance. This article has given you a great start. It's up to you to make the most of it.