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.
Search for cheaper utilities to get better personal finance. If you have had the same gas company, cell phone plan, or other utility for a while then shop around for a better deal. Many companies will gladly offer you better prices just to have you become their customer. This will definitely put more money in your pocket.
If you are a member of any groups such as the police, military or a car assistance club, ask if a store provides discounts. Many shops offer discounts of 10% or even more, but not all advertise that fact. Prepare to show your card as proof of membership or give your number if you are shopping online.
Keep track of debit card purchases. Always make a note on paper or your phone as soon as you swipe that card so that you do not forget. Debit cards are very convenient, but also make it easy to overspend a budget, and unless you keep a record it is way too easy to overdraw a bank account without realizing it.
To keep from draining your bank accounts, define a budget and stick to it. Estimate how much you spend every month on bills, groceries, travel expenses and entertainment. Allow very little leeway and put the rest of your paycheck in your savings account in case of emergencies that were not accounted for in your budget.
Adding your credit card issuer’s account management site to your list of daily online stops is a good way to keep up with your credit card purchases. It will also help you to spot possible problems, irregularities, or new account charges early on before they affect your spending and payment behaviors.
Make sure that you review your investment portfolio periodically to see if your investment mix is still suitable to your life goals. You might need to rebalance your mix if there have been any major life changes. Keep in mind that every time you trade shares in and out of your portfolio, you may incur trading fees, so think carefully before you move any assets around.
Avoid overdrafts in your checking account by always rounding to the next dollar when you note the amount of checks in your check register. In this way, your running balance (the amount written in your check register) will always be a little bit less than your actual balance. This will help you build a little safety net in your checking account.
Get yourself an emergency savings account. Stuff happens and you need to be prepared. An internet account won’t do because you’ll need as immediate an access as possible, so find the nearest local bank that has terms that you can live with. Have a portion of your pay, or from even your checking, be automatically deposited into this savings account.
Writing down a budget is vital to managing your personal finances. To start a personal budget, write all the expenses that you have at the start of each month. Include all of your basic expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, auto insurance, utilities, groceries and so on. Make sure your list is thorough and contains all possible expenses. In addition to writing down the type of expense, also make note of the amount that you pay. Make sure your expenses are less than your income.
Regularly read the business section of the paper. This will constantly offer many valuable tips on saving money and getting your personal finances in order, It will also help you stay updated on markets and maybe even will help you decide when a good time to invest money in stocks would be.
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.