Learning to budget and dealing with money, can be a little confusing and scary for some people. If you find that you are in that situation, this article will give you some great tips that you need to start off on the right foot. It won’t be long before you are a personal finance guru.
If you don’t already have one, open an IRA. You can contribute catch-up funds anytime throughout the year to get your maximum interest. This is also tax deductible. So, if you need to find a few more ways to raise those deduction amounts, it’s better to pay yourself, than uncle Sam.
Don’t ever cosign on a loan for a friend or family member unless you are financially able and emotionally willing to take on the entire amount of the debt. Being a co-signer does not mean you are vouching for the trustworthiness of the other borrower; it means you are taking on responsibility for the loan if the other party fails to pay.
Feel free to take advantage of paperless billing and paperless bank statements, but be careful not to become senseless on personal finance matters. The pitfall lurking in paperless finance lies in how easy it becomes to ignore your month-to-month finances. Banks, billers, or even thieves, can take advantage of this willful ignorance, so force yourself to review your online finances regularly.
If you want to repair or improve your credit score, keep the balances on your credit cards as low as possible. Using less of your available credit tells creditors that you aren’t in financial difficulties, which translates into an increased credit score. Using about thirty percent of your available credit is the sweet spot.
If you want to keep your credit score as high as possible, you should have between two and four credit cards in active use. Having at least two cards helps you establish a clear payment history, and if you’ve been paying them off it raises your score. Holding more than four cards at a time, however, makes it look like you’re trying to carry too much debt, and hurts your score.
If your employer offers a match to your 401K, make sure you’re contributing at least the amount they match. When an employer offers to match your funds, they are essentially giving you free money. The money you contribute will help you reach retirement goals and is tax free. It’s a win-win situation, all around.
If you are trying to repair your credit score, remember that the credit bureaus see how much you charge, not how much you pay off. If you max out a card but pay it at the end of the month, the amount reported to the bureaus for that month is 100% of your limit. Reduce the amount you charge to your cards, in order to improve your credit score.
If you generally keep at least a few thousand dollars in your checking account, consider opening up a new account with a well-known online bank. Unlike many physical banks, certain online institutions offer high-interest checking accounts that can actually earn money on your balance. Some also offer reduced fees for ATM or debit card usage as well.
If you’re trying to start a budget using a program, try to avoid spending with cash. It’s easy to forget about cash purchases and not factor them in, since they’re much more difficult to track with budgeting software. Instead, use debit or credit cards wherever possible to keep your spending visible.
Make a budget and stick to it. Write it down with a pen and paper and make sure you are specific about how you plan on your money to be spent. Review your budget often to see if there are any changes that need to be made. This will help you get organized and save money.
Giving to charity, can help you reduce your tax liability and it is also a very selfless thing to do! You can get tax credits for donating and save yourself money. Look into the best charities and give to a organization that you really care about! Feel good about saving money!
Now that you see how easy personal finance can be, hopefully you have changed your attitude a little. It is not hard to be in control of your money and it is very beneficial to do so. Take pride in the money that you have earned and use it wisely.