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.
To assure you always have money when you need it, create an emergency fund. It is best to have between three and six months income in a savings account that you can easily access. Doing this will assure you have money set aside in times when you absolutely need it.
Always consider a used car before buying new. Pay cash when possible, to avoid financing. A car will depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot. Should your financial situation change and you have to sell it, you might find it’s worth less than you owe. This can quickly lead to financial failure if you’re not careful.
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.
If you are trying to cut back on how much money you spend each month, limit the amount of meats in your diet. Meats are generally going to be more expensive than vegetables, which can run up your budget over time. Instead, purchase salads or vegetables to maximize your health and size of your wallet.
Never use a credit card for a cash advance. Cash advances carry with them extremely high interest rates and stiff penalties if the money is not paid back on time. Strive to build a savings account and use that instead of a cash advance if a true emergency should arise.
Getting the advice of family members that have knowledge of financial issues or work in the finance industry might be more comfortable than getting advice from a stranger. If one doesn’t have any family members that can help, they can turn to a trusted friend for advice.
It’s always best to plan for the unexpected, sometimes unexpected expenses occur and have to be prepared for. It’s especially good to be aware of the grace period after the due date, and how much the late fees might be. Before signing a lease, make sure you are aware of your options.
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.