Let’s cut to the chase. Here is a list of the seven best personal finance tips that everyone should implement.
1. START A BUDGET
Not possessing a budget is like trying to put together hundreds of tiny pieces when you don’t know what the completed jigsaw is supposed to look like. You need a rough idea of where you’re going, where you’re at, and what you’re aiming for. For many of us, a weekly or monthly budget can be vital. It helps you better organize your dollars and cents (or pounds and pennies), gives you a snapshot of your financial situation, and ensures you meet your pecuniary goals. Without a budget, it can be hard to not only save, but also to rein in your spending.
2. MONITOR YOUR SPENDING
Speaking of spending… have you run a check on your spending? If not, it might be time to start becoming acquainted with how you distribute your hard-earned money, whether you’re in employment, self-employment or on government assistance.
A standard pen-and-paper or computer spreadsheet budget works, but you can also utilize one of the many mobile applications to gain a picture of where your money is going.
Here are a few of the most popular apps today that can help you effectively monitor your spending:
- PocketGuard: A free budget app that connects your checking, credit, and savings accounts.
- Mint: An app that tracks and categorizes your transactions.
- EveryDollar: A budget app that monitors your spending and helps you plan a budget for buying goods and services.
- Honeydue: Do you want to make finance a goal with your spouse? Honeydue is a budget app with your partner that condenses everything into one spot, including bank accounts, loans, and investments.
There are plenty more, but this gives you an idea of what is out there that can benefit your money.
3. APPLY FOR A CREDIT REPORT
How much has your credit taken a hit due to inaccurate reporting or maybe even fraud on your credit report?
You may not know because you have not seen your credit report in many years. It could be a good time to apply for a report to see what is on there, what is incorrect, and whether any identity theft has occurred.
Moreover, knowing what is on your credit report can help you take steps to rectify the situation, enhance your score, and access better financial products and terms moving forward.
4. AUTOMATE YOUR SAVINGS
In this economy, it is not easy to save, especially when money is tight. That said, no matter what your situation is, paying yourself first and putting money away for the winter is critical if you can manage to do it, and every little helps. Whether it is $5, $25 or $100, its important to set aside whatever you can as regularly as possible for your retirement, savings nest or an unforeseen event.
But how can you develop the discipline to do so? Well, thankfully even the most discipline-deficient of us can consistently save with an automated savings plan (ASP). This is achieved by enrolling in a program that automatically transfers money from your checking account to your savings account weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Just set it, forget it, and watch the savings grow!
5. AUTOMATE BILL PAYMENTS
Are late payments adding another unnecessary cost to your monthly spending plans? Try automating your bill payments like you would for your savings accounts. By saving goodbye to late payments and mounting interest, you will notice the instant savings.
6. GET A NEW ACCOUNT
Now could be an excellent time to try out new accounts that can make your money work harder for you. The finance industry has come up with so many innovative products and services, especially in the last decade. It makes great financial sense to explore options beyond your conventional checking or savings account at your brick-and-mortar financial institutions.
There are lots of accounts and services out there, so it’s worth investigating and comparing them to what you currently have. Many people stick with the same provider even with sky-high fees and minimal interest on savings because of the hassle to change, but switching providers is becoming more expedient and stress-free in recent times.
7. OPT FOR CREDIT CARDS WITH REWARDS
Credit cards can be useful or dangerous, but ff you have great financial discipline then they can be a great way to have your money work for you since you can get money back by spending.
If you can wisely manage your credit card usage, opt for cards that offer cash-back rewards for all your transactions. The percentages are minimal – typically starting at 0.5 percent – but these small changes over time can add up.
The best advice is usually to pay back what you owe as soon as you can, paying off the balance in full if possible. For those in debt and with a very tight budget, this isn’t always doable. If debt, loans and credit cards are necessary, then always do your research first. Credit cards can vary considerably in terms of interest rates, fees, 0% balance transfer deals and rewards, so always read the small print and shop around for a deal that would best suit you.