What You Should Know About Personal Finances
When you are beginning the process of straightening out your finances, try to avoid spending money on restaurants and entertainment. You will quickly slide into debt if you do this.
Start building up an emergency fund today. In an ideal world you should have at least three months, preferable six months, living expenses stored away. Put it in an easy access, high interest savings account. If you don’t have any money saved, remember that it is never too late to start saving.
The envelope system is a tried and true budgeting technique that can work well for those who have a hard time staying within their budget. Cash out your paycheck at each pay period and put a predetermined amount of cash into each envelope for each line on your budget. You can then only spend the cash that you have for each item. It prevents you from overspending as you have a visual for what is left.
It is more convenient to use ATMs rather than traveler’s checks. Not only is it easier and faster to get your money this way, it is also cheaper. If you are going to use the ATM, make fewer and larger withdrawals, so that you can avoid paying numerous transaction fees.
When trying to arrange your personal finances you should build fun, spending money into the equation. When you have gone out of your way to include entertainment in your budget, it ensures that you remain content. Secondly, it ensures that you are reasonable and have a budget already in place, which allows for entertainment.
A young consumer with a modest personal financial situation, should resist the temptation to open accounts with many credit card companies. Two cards should be adequate for the consumer’s needs. One of these can be used regularly and ideally paid down regularly, to build up a positive credit history. A second card should serve strictly as an emergency resource.
Sign up for a rewards credit card if you qualify. You may be able to turn your expenses into things that you need. However, you must be able to pay your card balance in full to take advantage of the benefits. Otherwise, the rewards card will just become another debt burden.
Always pay more than the minimum. When paying down debt, it’s tempting to just make your minimum payments, but each month more interest is charged on the remaining balance, making it seem like you can never make any headway. Even if it’s just $10, pay a little bit more and slow down interest accruals to get that bill finally paid off.
Don’t fool yourself by thinking you can effectively manage your finances without a little effort, such as that involved in using a check register or balancing your checkbook. Keeping up with these useful tools requires only a minimum of time and energy and can save you from overblown overdraft fees and surcharges.
If you want to get your personal finances under control, try freezing your credit cards. Credit cards are good for emergencies, but are often used to buy things we can’t afford. Avoid this spur of the moment spending by literally freezing your card. Put it in a container of water and freeze it. You can still use your card in an emergency, but having to thaw out the credit card will give you time to rethink those impulse buys that lead to more debt.
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.
Avoid window shopping. If your personal finances are tight, or if you are trying to follow a strict budget, avoid window shopping, as it is likely to lead to impulse purchases. Think about whether you really need to make the purchase, and if possible, follow the 24-hour rule. Go home, and think about the item overnight. If you still believe it’s necessary, you won’t feel as guilty when you purchase it, as it’s no longer an ‘impulse’ buy.
Avoid getting into debt too far by learning how to properly budget and how to spend your money properly so that you make the most out of your money. Use the tips laid out here, so you can avoid collection calls and remain in the black.