Are you tired of living from paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to make ends met? If one of your goals for this year is to improve your financial situation, then the suggestions and ideas presented in this article will, doubtless, be of help to you in your quest for financial improvement.
Improving your personal finances is all about taking a real look at what your spending and deciding what’s important and what’s not. Bringing a lunch to work might be a great way to save money, but it may not be practical for you. Maybe giving up the expensive cappuccino and just drinking coffee in the morning would work better. You need to live within your means, but you still need to find what will work best for you.
Consider having a savings account that automatically debits from your paycheck each month. One of the hardest parts of saving is getting into the habit of saving and having it taken out automatically, removes this step. Also, automatically refilling your savings account means that it won’t be depleted if you do need to dip into it for any type of emergencies, especially if it’s more than once.
If your finances are such that you can’t afford to put a sizeable down payment on a new car, you can’t afford that car. Cars depreciate extremely quickly, and unless you make a large payment up-front, you will end up upside-down on that loan. Owing more than the worth of your car makes it difficult to sell the car and can put you in a bad position if the car were to be wrecked.
Find out whether the utilities are included in the rent or you have to pay them separately. If you need to pay your utilities separately do some research and find out how much the average utility bill is. Make sure you can afford the utilities and the rent together or look for public assistance programs you may qualify for.
Lower your total monthly grocery bills by nixing the habit of shopping for meals every day, afterr you leave work or school. This approach makes you more susceptible to costly impulse purchases and fast food runs. Instead, plan your grocery purchases for an entire week at a time. Save even more money by shopping only once every other week.
Pay off those credit cards that have high balance and high interest first. While you may personally prefer to pay all your debts at the same rate, zeroing in on those with high interest rates benefits you in the end. This will only become more crucial in the future, when credit card rates go up.
Jump start your saving efforts by immediately setting aside even the smallest amount possible and depositing it in a piggy bank, jar, or coffee can. Resist the urge to constantly count your savings as it may lead to discouragement in the earliest days. The trick is simply to make regular contributions and eliminate withdrawals.
For large purchases, such as home renovations, one way to get a better loan is to borrow against the value of your home, also called a home equity loan or a second mortgage. Because of the security provided by your home’s equity, these loans often have better rates than a normal loan.
If you are using a checking account that has fees save yourself the hassle and open a free checking account. You can save a lot of money every month by just switching to a bank that does not charge fees for transactions, etc. Shop around and find the best bank for you!
Consider signing up for a flexible spending account. An FSA lets you pay for medical, dependent care or transportation costs with pretax dollars put aside at each paycheck. By paying with pretax dollars, you are basically getting a discount on all these expenses. If your job offers a flexible spending account, contact the employee benefits department about it.
You owe it to yourself to take control of your financial future. A solid understanding of where your personal finances are at right now, as well as, the steps necessary to free yourself from debt, is essential to improving your financial situation. Implement the suggestions presented here, and you will be well on your way.