Learning to manage your finances is a skill that needs to be learned prior to adulthood. If you are lacking in knowledge about personal finance or just want to better the skills you have, take heart! It is possible to increase your financial education whenever you want to. Here are some of the ways in which you can do it.
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.
Pay all your bills on time to avoid late fees. These fees add up and start to take on a life of their own. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, one late fee can throw everything off. Avoid them like the plague by making paying bills on time a commitment.
It is never too early to save for the future. Even if you have just graduated from college, starting a small monthly savings program will add up over the years. Small monthly deposits to a retirement account compound much more over 40 years than larger amounts can over 10 years, and have the additional advantage that you are used to living on less than your total income.
Take advantage of student or senior discounts wherever you can. Certain stores offer the discounts every day, while others limit them to specific days of the week or one day per month. It does take a little work to find out the details of the discounts, but if you can save on the things you would buy anyway it is worth the effort.
Manage your finances at a bank that offers a free checking account. Even if the fees seem small, having a checking account that charges fees every month can drain hundreds of dollars a year from your account. Many banks and credit unions still offer a totally free checking account option.
Staying as responsible as possible, is a key trait in maintaining a solid bank account. When you have a checking account, make sure that you never take more than you have. This can lead to overdraft fees, which can add up over time and have an impact on your overall balance.
There are many ways that you can find great deals on clothes, to put more money in your pocket and limit overspending. Avoid shopping at the upscale stores in the mall and shop at a clearance store, which carries the same brand named items, at much lower prices to fit your budget.
When going for a procedure, find out if there are lower cost options available to you. You may be able to save money by using a different facility than the default facility assigned. Check with our insurance company and your doctor to see if using a different facility is an option for you before a procedure.
Put your paperwork together before you fill out your rental application. Make sure you have your employment history for at least the last 5 years and be ready to explain any gaps there might be. Make a list of your addresses for the last 5 years and have the names and phone numbers of your landlords. Without these, it is very unlikely you would be able to lease or rent anything.
Rebalance any investments that you may have. Stocks and bonds have had an overall good year, though cash yields are near zero. Look at your portfolio and make sure that you don’t need to move anything around so that you are earning more money. You should be doing this every year to help your portfolio.
Recycle and reuse to save big bucks. Why constantly add to the environmental problems associated with manufacturing and landfills? Anything that can possibly be reused should be reused. It’s not shameful to do this. It is practical and admirable not just from an environmental standpoint but also from a personal finance standpoint.
If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching funds, take the maximum deduction from your paycheck. Your company’s matching funds are like an automatic return on your money, on top of the returns from your 401(k) investment choices. Not taking full advantage of the match is like refusing free money.
The best way to save money at a grocery store is by using coupons. Between in-store values and coupons, you could drastically reduce your grocery bills to ease finances. And nowadays coupons are not just available in newspapers, they are also available on many websites online. You can just print them out from your computer!
One of the most important skills of a mature adult is the ability to handle personal finances. Anyone can learn to do this without much effort. It’s always possible to learn how to budget better with a little work. By trying the ideas you’ve just learned, you can start getting your finances in good shape.