Getting your personal finances in order and keeping them that way is an important skill – perhaps a more important one now than ever. Between the high-powered financial options anyone can take advantage of and the time-saving shortcuts anyone can abuse, it is all too easy to lose control of your money. Here are some basic tips about hanging on to your personal financial reins.
Don’t assume you need to buy a used car. The demand for good, low mileage used cars has gone up in recent years. This means that the cost of these cars makes it hard to find a good deal. Used cars also carry higher interest rates. So take a look at the long term cost, compared to an entry level new car. It might be the smarter financial option.
Avoid using the mall to meet your entertainment needs. This often leads to spending money you don’t have and charging things that you don’t really need. Try to shop only when you have a specific item to buy and a specific amount to spend. This will help you to stay on budget.
A student should always consider every option before taking out a student loan. Grants, scholarships, and savings funds can be great ways to pay for college. Student loans will saddle you with debt and can lead to a shaky financial future, should you default. Plan ahead and pay for college wisely.
If you are a college student, make sure that you sell your books at the end of the semester. Often, you will have a lot of students at your school in need of the books that are in your possession. Also, you can put these books online and get a large percentage of what you originally paid for them.
If you work in the city, try to refrain from purchasing magazines on newsstands. This will cost you a lot of money on something that you can simply find by logging on to the internet. Eliminate rash spending such as this, in order to reduce your expenses and increase your bank account.
Be willing to shop around at banks. One bank might have a better interest rate, another credit union might have free checking that works out better for you. Don’t be afraid to have multiple accounts to take advantage of all the promotional offers that you are eligible for. But look around.
When purchasing car insurance, be sure to ask a lot of questions and find an insurance agency that you can trust. A lower priced insurance is not always the best choice. Therefore, be sure that you are getting the complete coverage that you need. There are many discounts available (multiple car is a good example) so make sure to take advantage of those.
Always pay attention to your credit report. You are entitled to a free credit report every year, and there are other ways to monitor it for little to no cost. You should check it at least two times a year to make sure that nothing unauthorized has gotten onto your report and that there are no signs of identity theft.
Look for coupons online, and clip coupons from your local newspaper. You can save more money sometimes buying a name brand and using coupons, than you can when buying from discount stores and purchasing generic products. This is not always the case, but it is worth taking the extra time to check it out.
Gaining control of your finances is not just economically prudent. It can be a source of great personal satisfaction and even pride. Using methods like those outlined above, you can keep a tight leash on your personal finances and bring your money to heel. Personal finance is all about making your money behave the way you want it to.