During difficult economic times, intelligently managing your personal finances can mean the difference between living comfortably, and losing your home or being forced to file for bankruptcy protection. This article was written with the average person in mind. It is designed to help you improve your financial situation by teaching you to intelligently manage your personal finances.
Avoid thinking that you cannot afford to save up for an emergency fund because you barely have enough to meet daily expenses. The truth is that you cannot afford not to have one. An emergency fund can save you if you ever lose your current source of income. Even saving a little every month for emergencies can add up to a helpful amount when you need it.
Choosing the right schools can affect your personal finance. One of the most cost effective ways to get a prestigious degree or certification is by attending cheaper schools for part of your education, and switch over to a more expensive or better-ranked school for the remainder. Your credits will merge from the previous school and you will still gain the graduation benefits from the new school.
Make sure that you are using between two and four credit cards to bring up your credit score. If you use just one card will take longer for you to build up good credit and having more than three or four cards shows you use credit too much. Start out slow with just two cards and gradually build your way up, if needed.
Keep your credit rating high. More and more companies are using your credit rating as a basis for your insurance premiums. If your credit is poor, your premiums will be high, regardless of how safe you or your vehicle are. Insurance companies want to be sure that they will be paid and poor credit makes them wonder.
Start saving money for your children’s college education as soon as they are born. College is a very large expense, but by saving a small amount of money every month for 18 years you can spread the cost. Even if you children do not go to college the money saved can still be used towards their future.
If you have managed your finances well enough to own a home and have a retirement account, don’t jeopardize those by borrowing against them later. If you borrow against your home and can’t repay it, you could lose your home; the same is true for your retirement fund. Borrow against them only in dire situations.
Lots of families have lost their primary source of income due to lay-offs or medical issues. In these cases you might be late with your rent payment or might not even be able to pay it. Find out from the landlord how much time you have to bring your account current, or if he allows you to live in the apartment for the period covered by the security deposit.
Eating at home and boycotting restaurants is one of the best ways to save money. If you buy your groceries in bulk you can almost always cook at home cheaper than the equivalent meal would cost you in a restaurant. It might be nice to eat out ever once in awhile but think of all the money that is just going down the drain when you do.
Collect discarded popcorn tins. They make great rodent proof storage containers for staples that you buy in bulk. There is nothing more disappointing to think you have stocked your pantry with staples for the year and then to find that the flour, meal and other stables have been ruined by mice. Throwing out food costs money!
Trusts are not only intended for people with a lot of wealth. A trust allows you to say where your assets will go in the event of your death. Dealing with this in advance can save a lot of grief, as well as protect your assets from creditors and higher taxation.
Make paying down high interest credit card debt a priority. Pay more money on your high interest credit cards every month than you do on something that does not have as big of an interest rate. This will ensure that your principal debt does not grow into something that you will never be able to pay.
Contribute to an IRA. Not the Irish Republican Army but an Individual Retirement Account. If you or your spouse work, you qualify to put money into an IRA. The account can be with a mutual fund, bank, credit union, insurance company or other trustee. Deposits for a traditional IRA are tax deductible and returns are not taxed until withdrawn. A Roth IRA deposit is done with after-tax dollars but withdrawals are not taxed.
Remember, intelligently managing your personal finances is the key to wealth and security. In an economic downturn, being careless or foolish with your money can have grave consequences. Carefully read the tips in this article, and apply what you learn to your own personal financial situation. By doing so, you can protect yourself from financial ruin.