Triple check your credit card statements the moment you arrive home. Make sure to pay special attention in looking for duplicates of any charges, extra charges you don’t recognize, or simple overcharges. If you spot any unusual charges, contact both your credit card company and the business that charged you immediately.
Even in a world of online bank accounts, you should still be balancing your checkbook. It is so easy for things to get lost, or to not really know how much you have spent in any one month. Use your online checking information as a tool to sit down once a month and add up all your debits and credits the old fashioned way. You can catch errors and mistakes that are in your favor, as well as protect yourself from fraudulent charges and identity theft.
Check and see if you are getting the best cell phone plan for your needs. If you’ve been on the same plan for the past few years, you probably could be saving some money. Most companies will do a free review of your plan and let you know if something else would work better for you, based on your usage patterns.
If you have a credit card without a rewards program, consider applying for one that earns you miles. Combine a credit card that earns miles with a frequent flier rewards program from your favorite airline and you’ll fly for free every now and again. Make sure to use your miles before they expire though.
Stick to your goals. When you see the money start pouring in, or the money flying away, it can be hard to stay the course and stick with what you originally planned. Before making changes, keep in mind what you really want and what you can really afford; and you’ll save yourself money.
Electronics are extremely expensive and can set you back a lot of money if you do not get a good deal. Try to do all of your electronics shopping online, as you will find great deals and auctions, which will allow you to choose the price that you want to pay.
Make sure that you set goals so that you can have a benchmark to reach every week, month and year. This will allow you to form the discipline that is needed for quality investing and successful financial management. If you hit your goals, set them higher in the next timeframe that you choose.
If you (or your spouse) has earned any type of income, you are eligible to be contributing to an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), and you need to be doing this right now. This is a great way to supplement any type of retirement plan that has limits in terms of investing.
Use a credit card only if you pay it off in full each month. If you don’t, the interest on an item that cost you $10.00 could end up costing you $50.00. You never want to pay more than you have to for anything!
Buy breakfast cereal in the big plastic bags. They are usually located on the opposite side of the grocery isle from the boxed cereal. Compare the unit price and you’ll see that the bagged cereal is much cheaper than the boxed version. It tastes essentially the same and a quick comparison of the labels will show you the ingredients are practically identical.
Don’t let banks use your money for free. Many banks require customers to maintain a high minimum balance to avoid fees for checking or savings accounts, but pay very low or no interest on the amount. You can usually find a better deal at a credit union or an online bank.
If you are lucky enough to have it as an option consider increasing your contributions, or starting an IRA or 401k. Many employers will even match however match you put in at three or four percent, so it’s like free money.
Always make sure that you’re reading the fine print on any financial contract like a credit card, home loan, etc. The way to keep your personal finances running in the black is to make sure that you’re never getting snagged up by some rate hikes you didn’t catch in the fine print.
While making a personal finance plan or improving an existing one can be scary, anyone can improve their finances with the right help. Use the advice in this article to help you learn the best ways to take control of your finances and to improve your life without feeling overwhelmed.