Personal Finance Tips
Personal finance is a tricky game of keeping debts low, while still having the amenities in life that make us happy. If money woes keep you up at night, it is likely that you need these personal finance tips that will change the way you think about money. You want to sleep better at night, right? Then, check these out!
- Pick a budget for YOU
Don’t choose a budget just because it worked for your best friend, your mom or your cousin. Pick something that works for YOU. There’s plenty of budgeting tips, tricks and apps that can keep you on target. Just choose something that sounds like you can maintain it for the long haul.
- Get detailed in your goals
Do you want to travel more? Get out of student loan debt? Upgrade to a newer car? You need goals and to have them detailed. If your goal is to just have some money in savings, it is likely to never be achieved because it is very vague. Choose your goals and be detailed about the timeline, process and ultimate outcome.
- Automate the process
Did you know that you automatically send money from your paycheck into a savings account? Most banks offer this service and automation can really take the pressure off. Ask your bank for this information.
- Get real with your balance
Take just one minute each day to check your bank account. This is not meant to depress or excite you, but to be on top of your transactions. You can easily find discrepancies, should they arise.
- Budget for your lifestyle
Believe it or not, you can dedicate a whopping 30% of your budget to your lifestyle. This can include things like entertainment, dining out or some other experiential activity that defines your lifestyle. Save and splurge all at the same time.
- Add exercise to your budget
Working up a literal sweat leads you to be more productive in your day. Make a healthy habit for your body and it can turn into healthy financial habits too.
- Think happy thoughts
Positive thinking and mantras are a healthy way to approach your finances. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if this will help or hinder your financial goals. Be positive about the financial decisions you choose to make.
- Get a money buddy
Find a friend who can be helpful and positive toward your financial goals. They could be the motivation you are looking for.
- Negotiate your salary
You can always try to increase your income by negotiating your salary. If you can’t remember the last time you’ve received a raise, it is probably time to start asking.
- Conquer smaller debts first
Debt is overwhelming. Try chopping down the little debts first before shooting for the larger ones.
- Don’t be a co-signer
Want to get in more financial peril? Probably not! So don’t find yourself in a position to cosign for a loan. Just don’t.
- Never lend money – Lending money to friends, family, significant others, etc. is just plain dangerous. If you want to help someone out, just give them money and do not expect it repaid. That way you are not surprised when the money never returns to your bank account.
- Always choose federal student loans over private
Federal student loans always have more flexible payback options and typically have better interest rates too.
- Be happy, spend money on experiences
The research says that spending money on material things will leave you less happy than if you went to a concert or spent money on experience.
- Always be saving money
Don’t wait on this one. Be saving money today, tomorrow and always. If you don’t start right this second, you might never start.
- Hang on to your retirement, always
Your retirement account is for retirement and nothing else. Don’t dip into it and don’t let go of it.
- Eye up your credit score
Your credit might be less than stellar, but there is no way to fix it unless you know what is wrong with it. Keep track of it on sites like creditkarma.com. They can give you advice on ways to crank it up.
- Keep your credit below 30%
If you take the total amount on all of your credit cards and divide it by your total available credit, you get your credit utilization. Keep this below 30% and you are doing great!
- Investigate your life insurance
Learn about life insurance and see what you are really getting from your employer. It is likely minimal. You can do better.
- Get renter’s insurance
Are you a renter? You should never go without renter’s insurance. It protects from the burglaries, fires, vandalism and some even cover medical expenses should someone get injured on your property.
- Separate savings and checking
One account is not going to cut it. Always have separate checking and savings. Try to name your savings account if you can. Some people even put their savings account with another bank so they forget it’s even there (until they need it of course).
- Have an emergency fund
You need an emergency fund. You never know when your pet might break a leg, your car might spontaneously combust or you might lose your job. Always have an emergency fund.
- Fees kill
Bank fees, credit card fees, maintenance fees. Whatever they are called, they will kill your budget. Always know what fees are associated with all of your financial products and get rid of them immediately.
- Do you know your interest rates?
Zero. That is the best interest rate to have. You should always aim for zero percent interest or not take out the money in the first place.
- Be kind to yourself
It is not likely that you will immediately change the way you think about money, so be kind if you don’t grasp each detail. What’s important is that you put in the effort. You likely didn’t get into financial difficulties overnight, so you likely won’t fix them overnight (unless you just won the lottery).