Personal financial success can be influenced by our ability to pay attention to how we handle money. The following article recommends little habits we can all do routinely to start thinking about where our money is coming from and where it’s going. The best part about these suggestions is that they don’t require daily attention. Some of these steps can be implemented in a few minutes a month.
Going out to eat is one of the costliest budget busting blunders many people make. At a cost of roughly eight to ten dollars per meal it is nearly four times more expensive than preparing a meal for yourself at home. As such one of the easiest ways to save money is to stop eating out.
Hiring a credit repair company can help you with some of the legwork involved in cleaning up your credit report, but beware of shady companies that make false or misleading claims. These companies may allege that you can start fresh with a clean credit report by using an Employee Identification number (EIN) rather than your Social Security number. However, they neglect to tell you that requesting an EIN from the IRS for this reason is a federal crime.
For those individuals that have credit card debt, the best return on your money would be to minimize or pay off those credit card balances. Generally, credit card debt is the most expensive debt for any household, with some interest rates that exceed 20%. Start with the credit card that charges the most in interest, pay it off first, and set a goal to pay off all credit card debt.
Do not charge more each month than you can pay when the bill comes in. The interest adds up if you only pay the minimum balance, and you can end up paying much more for your purchase in the end than if you had simply used your own money to buy it outright. Bonuses such as airline miles or even rebates seldom make up for the additional expense.
If you must get a credit card to manage your finances, try for a no-fee rewards card. While credit cards can easily cause more damage than do good, a rewards card will at least give you something back for the money you spend on it. Don’t be tempted to overspend to earn those rewards, though.
Manage your finances at a bank that offers a free checking account. Even if the fees seem small, having a checking account that charges fees every month can drain hundreds of dollars a year from your account. Many banks and credit unions still offer a totally free checking account option.
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.
Make sure that you are only paying for the amount of home insurance you need. You cannot file a claim for more than the value of your house and it’s contents, so having high insurance coverage could mean you’re paying for something you can’t even use. Do an inventory of your house and get a rough estimate of what you would claim, then speak to your insurance agent to make sure that your coverage matches that amount.
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.
This article explains little things that can be done to incorporate a routine consideration of financial health. A little bit of time and attention will help improve our financial health and keep attention on the little things that we can do in managing our personal finances. Some steps take only a few minutes at a time to keep us on top of our finances.