Saving money is an important key to living a less stressful life. Knowing that you have some money in the bank when an emergency arises is an excellent convenience in uncertain days. These 12 tips for your personal finances can help you save money and help meet your financial goals.
1. Understand Where the Money Is Going
Record all of your expenditures for about a month and find out where every penny is going. This will enable you to find where you are losing money so you can stop the leaks.
2. Create a Budget
Place limits on your expenditures. Eliminate expenditures that are not necessary and create a budget you can live with that is within your income.
3. Start an Emergency Fund
If you do not already have one, start setting aside money for emergencies. Aim for $500 at first, and then increase it to $1,000. Make sure it is easily accessible when you need it.
4. Eliminate High-Interest Debt
Look over your credit cards and find out which ones have the highest interest rates. Seek to pay down this debt first.
5. If Needed, Get Extra Income
To get out of debt faster, or if you are struggling just to make ends meet each month, find new sources of income. You can have a yard sale, sell on eBay, write a book for Kindle, start a side business, work part-time, or get a better-paying job.
6. Use Only Cash for Purchases
When shopping, do not add new charges to a credit card if you carry a balance on them. Reduce your debt by using cash only and carry only enough cash to buy what you need. Don’t waste money on the lottery.
7. Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is used to determine how much money you can get in a loan and your interest rate. The higher the score you have the better deals you will get. If it is not in good shape now, take the time to raise it before getting any new credit.
8. Save for Retirement
Knowing that you are saving money for retirement will give you something to look forward to. Invest the money in a savings plan such as an IRA or 401(k) to give yourself a more comfortable retirement and possible tax deductions.
9. Buy Cars That Are Fuel Efficient
Cars can take a hefty chunk out of your budget if it is sporty. Not only will it reduce your gas mileage but it will also require a considerable price when buying insurance for it.
10. When Home Buying, Use a Large Downpayment
The more you borrow for a mortgage, the larger your payment is going to be. You will get more comfortable payments if you put down at least 10 percent. It will be even better if you pay 20% – which will eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI) – letting you save even more money.
11. Eat More Often at Home
Eating home-cooked meals can help you to save money. Eating at restaurants regularly is costly and so is buying specialty coffees each day. Take lunch with you to work for even more savings and make weekly meal menus.
12. Plan to Save for Dreams
When you set your financial house in order, you will find that you have more spending money than you thought. Start saving for your dreams and invest it in index funds (avoid individual stocks) to grow it into even larger savings.