Whatever your current situation is, the following information and tips will help you regain some control of your finances. Reduce stress now by taking action today.
Make a budget, and stick with it
If you are unsure where to start with your budget, start by creating a checklist of each item you need to improve financially. Are you shopping too many times in one month? Do you find yourself wasting groceries more than you would like? These are things to consider when making your list. I use my online banking to help me keep track of my expenses. By checking it regularly, I can see when I am about to reach the limit I created for myself and adjust my spending accordingly. It’s important to be strict with yourself when developing your budget and list of expenses in order to avoid overspending. If you allow yourself to continuously break budget, you are only hurting yourself and preventing future success with your money. It was not easy at first, but I made it a point to make it a part of my regular routine.
Learn a new skill to improve your personal finances
While paying for school may not seem ideal as the holidays draw near, it is something to consider perhaps even as a New Year’s resolution. If you are at a standstill in your job financially with little room to grow, you may have a hard time getting out of your current financial situation without an extended knowledge. On average, a college graduate does earn more throughout his or her lifetime than someone who did not continue their education after high school. However, there are also a variety of online classes you can take to learn a new skill. Udemy offers many options from becoming certified in yoga to learning how to be a photographer.
Compare interest rates on your mortgage
Looking into getting a mortgage? That’s great! Before you dive too far into the paperwork, though, be sure to compare interest rates as well as additional expenses. To weigh out the best mortgage option for you, you’ll want to think about how long you plan on living in your home. You may want to also ask about discount points to help your mortgage payments become cheaper throughout the years.
Pre-determine your meals for the week
You can save money by planning out your meals for the week due to wasting less food. Determine the ingredients you’ll need and take a list with you while shopping. Having this list will prevent your falling off the plan and buying anything you don’t really need or plan on eating. It can be easy to veer off, but this can also lead to waste. Produce, in particular, goes bad much faster than we are often able to eat it. So, be realistic when at the grocery store.
Stay away from grace periods on your credit card
You should really try to not accept the grace periods from your credit cards. Doing this could lead to future missed payments, which, in turn, affects your interest and starts to really create problems. Part of having your personal finances under control is to create healthy habits of paying your bills on time.
Make filing for bankruptcy a last resort
Look into all other options to save your personal finances before filing bankruptcy. Debt consolidation could be a possible solution instead. It takes roughly seven to ten years, depending, to recover from bankruptcy. So, you want to really try to do what you can to take care of your obligations and see this as a final and last resort.
Buy things used to save money
Every penny counts, and one way you can really make the money add up is by buying things used. CD’s, books and even cell phones can all be bought used. If you are a huge book nerd, you may want to even just sign up for a library card since you can just return the books once you are finished. You can also switch to a subscription to Netflix or Hulu instead of paying for cable with all those channels you don’t even watch. I haven’t had cable for five years, and I personally do not miss it.
Vehicles are another item to contemplate purchasing used. After the first 10,000 miles, the car will still function great but the price will drop. These are the used vehicles to really ask about.
Avoid being a co-signer
No matter how much you think you can trust someone, it is highly recommended to avoid being a co-signer for someone. There may be a time where you feel it is necessary, such as for a family member, but make sure to talk to them about a plan of action of paying you back. Do they have a reliable job? Why do they need a co-signer? Do they have non-existent credit? Have a very open and honest conversation because if they end up missing payments, you become responsible for their debt.
Life should not be spent worrying about your personal finances. Money is a huge stress is our lives, but the good news is you can take control. Apply these tips to your current strategy to get yourself on the right path. By regulating your finances, you enjoy life more without worrying about your financial situation all the time. It may take several steps, but it will all be worth it. Remember what they say: Start with the end in mind.
Have you been able to improve your personal finances? Feel free to comment below. I would love to hear your stories!