We all have finances, and yet so many of us never get any real training or education on how to go about them wisely. As this article will show you, you don’t have to be a math genius or a financial guru in order to make wise investments and get your money matters in order.
Make sure that you are collecting all of the tax credits to which you are entitled. Look out for the following tax credits: Child Care Credit, Child Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Earned Income Credit and Hope Scholarship Credit. Visit the IRS’s website for a complete list of tax credits that you may be eligible for.
Live below your means. Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck. This happens, because we are spending as much as we are earning or in some cases, more. You can break this cycle by leaving yourself a lot of room in your monthly budget. If you only need a smaller percentage of your income to pay your living expenses, there will be more left over to save or to pay for unexpected things that come up.
Do not buy anything unless you really need it and can afford it. This way you will save your money for essentials and you will not wind up in debt. If you are discerning regarding what you purchase, and use cash to buy only what you need (and at the lowest possible price) you will not have to worry about being in debt.
Set a goal of paying yourself first, ideally at least 10% of your take home pay. Saving for the future is smart for many reasons. It provides you with both an emergency and retirement fund. It also gives you money to invest so that you can increase your net worth. Always make it a priority.
Timing is very important when buying a mortgage. You don’t want to end up having to pay for two mortgages for a long period of time. If you are buying and selling at the same time, remember to focus on the selling first, that is the most important thing that needs to get done before you can buy a new house.
Track the money you spend each month. Although many people hate to be reminded of where their money goes each month, tracking it can help you identify ways to save wasted dollars that can go to a more worthy cause. Commit to tracking your spending for just one or two months in the beginning, and challenge yourself to find the “fat” to trim in your monthly spending.
It is important to find a bank that offers a free checking account. Some banks charge a monthly or yearly fee to have a checking out with them. These fees can add up and cost you more than it’s worth. Also, make sure there are no interest fees associated with your account
Avoid window shopping. If your personal finances are tight, or if you are trying to follow a strict budget, avoid window shopping, as it is likely to lead to impulse purchases. Think about whether you really need to make the purchase, and if possible, follow the 24-hour rule. Go home, and think about the item overnight. If you still believe it’s necessary, you won’t feel as guilty when you purchase it, as it’s no longer an ‘impulse’ buy.
A great personal finance tip is to make sure you buy appliances that will help you save energy. Appliances that can help you save energy usually have an Energy Star sticker on them. Purchasing these appliances can go a long way in helping you save money by reducing energy.
When it comes to personal finance everyone thinks of savings. One way to improve your finances is actually spending! If you always pay your credit card balances in full get a rewards card that offers cash back or other various incentives like free flights. Then the money you would have used on the flight, or the cash you get back, you are really saving a certain percentage.
Only you can make your own financial decisions. Even if that decision is seeking out the advice of a professional, you must do that on your own. This article is meant to be an educational tool to guide you in the right direction. Put some of these ideas into practice and you will see changes in how you handle and think about money.