Getting your personal finances in order and keeping them that way is an important skill – perhaps a more important one now than ever. Between the high-powered financial options anyone can take advantage of and the time-saving shortcuts anyone can abuse, it is all too easy to lose control of your money. Here are some basic tips about hanging on to your personal financial reins.
Shop around before committing to a specific lender for financing. Talk to several loan officers, and always get terms on paper. You can also let the loan officer know of other rates you have been quoted, giving them a chance to compete for your business. Be sure to not only compare interest rates, but additional fees and charges as well.
Banks offer two different types of loans: fixed and variable interest rate loans. Try to avoid variable interest rate loans at any cost as they can turn into a disaster. Fixed rate loans will have the same interest rate throughout the loan’s life. The interest rate of the variable rate loans and their monthly payments change either by following the fluctuations of the market or the contract between the bank and the borrower. The monthly payment can easily reach a level the borrower can’t afford.
Your personal finance is very important. Make sure that you end up with more money then you started with. It is very common for people to overspend, and before they realize what is happening they end up with a mountain of debt. So make sure you are bringing in more than you are taking out.
Having a savings plan is important, so always plan for a rainy day. You should strive to have enough money in the bank to cover your essential bills for six months. Should you lose your job, or run into an emergency situation, the extra money will get you through.
Pay yourself first. Each month, put a little money from your paycheck into an emergency savings account. At some point, you may be faced with unplanned expenses, and this way you will be able to take care of them without having to resort to a credit card. If possible, try to build up an emergency fund that can cover at least three months of living expenses.
It’s often easier to save money if you don’t have to think about it, so it can be a good idea to set up your direct deposit so that a certain percentage of each paycheck is automatically put into your savings account. This way you don’t have to worry about remembering to transfer the money.
If you want to minimize the amount that you spend, in a spreadsheet, track every single penny spent. This will allow you to see where you are wasting money and where your necessities are. Analyze this information, and improve your overall spending habits to put more money in your bank account.
Even though bottled water may seem like an insignificant expense when you purchase it individually, it will add up over time. Instead of purchasing bottled water every single day, invest in a water filter. This will allow you to create water that has the same taste as bottled, at little to no cost.
Don’t put off saving for and investing in your retirement. Take advantage of work based plans like a 401k. If your employer is contributing to your 401k make sure to do everything you can to optimize that contribution. Roth 401ks allow you to withdraw from your fund without tax penalty if you qualify.
Consider applying for an overdraft program at your back if your monthly paycheck sometimes comes up just a little short at the end of the month. Though it costs a few dollars, it may save you from 20 dollar fees here and there.
If you’re trying to start a budget using a program, try to avoid spending with cash. It’s easy to forget about cash purchases and not factor them in, since they’re much more difficult to track with budgeting software. Instead, use debit or credit cards wherever possible to keep your spending visible.
Gaining control of your finances is not just economically prudent. It can be a source of great personal satisfaction and even pride. Using methods like those outlined above, you can keep a tight leash on your personal finances and bring your money to heel. Personal finance is all about making your money behave the way you want it to.