Not maintaining your own personal finances may lead to negative physical and emotional health. The guidelines below are an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to get his or her finances back on track.
Be careful not to make any long distance calls while traveling. Most cellphones have free roaming these days. Even if you are sure your cellphone has free roaming, read the fine print. Make sure you are aware of what “free roaming” entails. Similarly, be careful about making calls at all in hotel rooms.
When you go to the bank or a mortgage broker and you get pre-approved for a loan you should subtract 20 percent off of the amount that they are offering to lend you and only take that amount. This will keep you safe from any unexpected financial situations that may come up.
Pay all of your household bills on time. When you pay a bill late you are usually charged a late fee and these fees can really add up over the course of a year. Late payments can also affect you credit rating making it harder for you to get a mortgage or credit card in the future.
Business and personal travel can mix well if you log your spending wisely. Take a small journal that will allow you to log any business-related expenses while away. Attach a small envelope inside the front cover of the book that will hold any receipts you will acquire as well.
Put aside money from every paycheck as soon as you get it. It’s too easy to spend now, and forget to save later. With the money actually being stored away safe and secure, you have a much lower chance of spending the money on something trivial or impulse-driven.
Whenever you get a windfall such as a bonus or a tax return, designate at least half to paying down debts. You save the amount of interest you would have paid on that amount, which is charged at a much higher rate than any savings account pays. Some of the money will still be left for a small splurge, but the rest will make your financial life better for the future.
If you are fortunate enough to have any extra money in your checking account, be wise and don’t leave it there. Even if it’s only a few hundred bucks and only a one percent interest rate, at least it is in a traditional savings account working for you. Some people have a thousand or more dollars sitting in interest free accounts. This is simply unwise.
One piece of advice that you should follow so that you are always in a safe position is to establish an emergency account. If you are ever fired from your job or faced hard times, you will want to have an account that you can resort to for additional income.
If you do not make use of the automatic alerts most banks offer, you are missing out on one of the best benefits of online banking. Most banks will let you know about important activity on your account via text or email. You should especially utilize security related alerts that notify you of events that could create a risk of overdraft, or be related to fraudulent activity. For example, you can set up alerts for when your balance reaches a certain minimum, or when a large withdrawal is made.
Use cash for purchases. Eliminate credit cards and debit cards and use cash for purchases. Use the envelope system to allocate a budget for monthly expenses. Have a separate envelope for each different type of expense, and place a specific amount of cash in each one. This way, you won’t over-spend on any monthly expenses. A good idea is to have another envelope marked ’emergency’, containing cash that can only be used if really necessary. Seal this envelope, as this will make you less tempted to ‘borrow’ from it.
Be realistic when it comes to saving. Some people find it very easy to save money, others, not so much. If you’ve never been able to successfully save money in the past, don’t think that you will suddenly be able to save hundreds of dollars a month. Start small, and get used to the habit of putting aside an amount each month. Once you see it starting to grow, you can increase the amount of money that you save.
Find the financial institution that meets your savings goals. Avoid paying monthly transaction and maintenance fees by finding local credit unions, banks or thrifts offering free checking accounts. If no completely free checking is offered in your neighborhood find an institution where you can make your account free by signing up for direct deposit or you using your debit card a few times a month.
Although it can be tough to take care of personal finances, you really can get a handle on them and improve your situation. The most important thing is that you do a great deal of research and ask the advice of financial advisers. If you use the tips above, you can get your personal finances in shape.