The state of the economy is forcing many families to take a long, hard, look at their wallets. Focusing on spending and saving may feel frustrating, but taking good care of your personal finances will only benefit you in the long run. Here are some great personal finance tips to help get you started.
Talk to different loan officers before you sign anything. Make sure to read over the lending contract very carefully to assure that you are not getting into a mortgage that has hidden charges, and that the terms of the loan are just as you and the lender had agreed to.
When traveling abroad, save on eating expenses by dining at establishments favored by locals. The tourist trap restaurants and hotel eating establishments are probably overpriced. Look online before your trip, and figure out where the local people eat. This way, you will not be wasting money on delicacies and can enjoy the local cuisine.
To understand how you spend money, keep a journal listing every cent you spend for one week. However, if you write it in a notebook that gets closed and set aside until you open it again the next day, it might become a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. A better choice may be writing your purchases on a poster or whiteboard that can be placed in a prominent place to catch your attention daily. By seeing it frequently, it will stay fresh in your mind.
Start building up an emergency fund today. In an ideal world you should have at least three months, preferable six months, living expenses stored away. Put it in an easy access, high interest savings account. If you don’t have any money saved, remember that it is never too late to start saving.
In order to maximize your personal finances, consider hiring a financial professional who can advise you about areas like investments and taxes if you can afford to do so. This’ll mean big savings in the long run, as someone who manages money matters for a living will not only be able to alert you to areas where you’re spending money unnecessarily, they’ll also have a much broader insight into investments as well.
If you travel by plane on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to get into a frequent flyer program. There are many credit cards that offer rewards for purchases that you can use to get discounted or even free air fare. Frequent flier miles can also often be redeemed at a variety of hotels for free rooms or discounted stays.
If you have a credit card with a high interest rate, pay it off first. The money you save on fees can be significant. Very often credit card debt is one of the highest and largest debt a family has. Rates will most likely go up in the near future, so you should focus on repayment now.
While no one wants to cut back on their spending, this is a great opportunity to develop healthy spending habits. Even when your financial situation improves, these tips will help you take care of your money and keep your finances stable. It’s tough to change the way you deal with money, but it’s worth the extra effort.