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.
When it comes to maintaining your financial health, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is establish an emergency fund. Having an emergency fund will help you avoid sliding into debt in the event you or your spouse loses your job, needs medical care or has to face an unexpected crisis. Setting up an emergency fund is not hard to do, but requires some discipline. Figure out what your monthly expenses are and set a goal to save 6-8 months of funds in an account you can easily access if needed. Plan to save a full 12 months of funds if you are self-employed.
One important step in repairing your credit is to first make sure that your monthly expenses are covered by your income, and if they aren’t, figuring out how to cover expenses. If you continue to fail to pay your bills, your debt situation will continue to get worse even as you try to repair your credit.
As tempting as it may be to invest in a credit repair program, spend some time online to find one that is free. They are all over the web and many times cover the same steps for credit repair as the ones that you pay for do. Save yourself some money by looking for the ones that are not going to cost you.
If your mortgage is in trouble, take steps to refinance as soon as possible. While the case used to be that you could not restructure a home loan until you had defaulted on it, today there are many actions you can take before reaching that point. This sort of financial triage is extremely valuable, and can minimize the pain of a mortgage crisis.
If you have any credit card debt, make sure to start paying the higher interest ones down first. Putting all your extra money into paying off your credit cards now is a smart move, because looking at the trend, interest rates are going to continue to rise over the next couple of years.
In an effort to improve your finances, compare Savings account and CD rates online. In the current low-interest rate environment, it’s more important that ever to find the best possible yields on deposit accounts. Chances are that by searching online, you can find a better interest rate than your local bank is offering, making the most of your emergency fund or other savings.
Pack your lunch. Most people spend the most money in their day during lunchtime. This is because most people get up and don’t make time to prepare lunch before work. That means they have to pay out of pocket for lunch unless they wait for dinner. Making a quick lunch will save that money.
Personal finance also includes setting goals for yourself and your money. This includes both short and long term goals like paying off your car and figuring out how much you should put away each month towards your retirement. It is helpful to have some goals that work together, for example, how much extra should you pay each month towards your mortgage so that your house is paid off when you retire.
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.