Many people choose the beginning of the year to make a resolution to improve their financial situation. The truth is, improving the situation you are in financially, is a good thing to do at any time of the year. Regardless of when you begin, it is important to begin, in order to improve your finances for the future.
Americans are notorious for spending more than they earn, but if you want to be in charge of your finances, spend less than what you earn. Budget your income, as to assure that you don’t overspend. Spending less than what you earn, will help you to be at peace with your finances.
Monitor your accounts for signs of identity theft. Purchases you don’t remember making or credit cards showing up that you don’t remember signing up for, could all be signs that someone is using your information. If there is any suspicious activity, make sure to report it to your bank for investigation.
If you have managed your finances well enough to own a home and have a retirement account, don’t jeopardize those by borrowing against them later. If you borrow against your home and can’t repay it, you could lose your home; the same is true for your retirement fund. Borrow against them only in dire situations.
Re-check your tax withholding allowances every year. There are many change of life events that can effect these. Some examples are getting married, getting divorced, or having children. By checking them yearly you will make sure you’re declaring correctly so that too much or too little money is not withheld from your paychecks.
Involving the whole family is an excellent way for one to accomplish many different things. Not only will every family member get valuable practice managing their money but the family will be able to communicate and work together to save for high cost purchases that they would want to make.
Try paying for your food and other daily purchases on a credit card. Then, at the end of the month, pay off that credit card completely. This shows that you’re able to be responsible when borrowing money and that you’ll pay it back. This is a nice, easy way to improve your credit score.
If you discover an error on your credit report, your first step is to write a letter explaining this error to that credit bureau. The second step would be to contact the creditor who made the error and ask them to fix it. If you attack the problem from both ends, you are more guaranteed to see a resolution.
Pay yourself first. When you get your paycheck, set aside a certain amount for your savings account first. Don’t pay bills, don’t buy anything, just take some money and put it aside for a rainy day. This will ensure that when a rainy day does come along, you already have a little help.
Consider your feelings about money. Take into consideration the different choices and try to improve your decision-making with your finances. Sit down and make a list of things you believe about money and material things, and try to find out what in your past made you believe that. You can move on and work on building positive feelings later.
If you want to have truly sound finances, avoiding debt altogether is a very good thing to do. If you are buying a home or a car, a loan is fine. Do not use credit too much during your daily life.
The chances are high that your money will work harder, not in savings, bonds, stocks, etc. but in paying down your credit cards. Generally, credit card debt is the most punishing debt that households have. Credit card interest rates are now so high that paying your card debt is like putting money into a double-digit interest yielding, risk-free account.
Never think that you are too young to start dealing with your future. This isn’t only about planning for retirement. You should be thinking of your finances in general, and that means working to build a good credit score, saving cold, hard cash, investing a little capital, and always working on a lifelong budget.
As a person acting responsibly and trying to get a hold on his or her personal finances, you can look to many areas in order to trim the fat. Try knocking out that subscription to Time Magazine and watch the news instead. Ditch that Netflix monthly premium and wait for your movies to come on cable. There are many areas to trim.
Be sure to satisfy the credit counseling requirement for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy reform law that was passed in 2005 requires that anyone who enters bankruptcy must complete an accredited credit counseling course before the bankruptcy can be discharged. Don’t get taken by sharks. Many non-profit Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) branches offer low-cost courses that meet the requirements.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun, use solar panels to save on your energy bill. When you install solar panels, your electricity meter actually runs backward during the day, as it adds power to the grid. Most solar panels will pay for themselves in 7-10 years of use. Watch out for nasty HOA restrictions on solar panels, though.
Like dieting, budgeting can be very painful if you are unreasonable in your goals. Severely restricting yourself will invariably lead to failure. Instead, set realistic goals for saving and spending your money. Setting extreme limits for yourself will make it much easier and tempting for you to fall off the wagon.
When you use a credit card, pay the balance in full each month, if at all possible. This allows you the convenience of using a credit card, but prevents you from incurring interest and fees. When you pay interest on credit card purchases, in the long run, you are actually paying more for the items that you purchase.
As you can see, it is very possible to improve your financial situation at any time of the year. Improving your finances isn’t something you should wait to do, so pick a date in the near future and do what needs to be done to get your finances in order.