Get Your Finances in Control Today!
Nov 03, 2011
Besides basic living expenses, many of us are bogged down with one or more of the following: student loan payments, credit card debt, car loans or mortgages. Interested in gaining control of your finances? Read on for tips that can help you save and grow your money.
Ways to Achieve Financial Stability
Nothing worth having comes easy. We've all heard the saying, and this adage can aptly be applied to the achievement of financial freedom and success. Analyzing personal finances and having a firm grasp of your own balance sheet is essential. After you know what you owe you can create a plan of action to tackle debt and build a stable financial future. Then consider what would make you more comfortable - saving money or paying down debt - and prioritize accordingly.
Find a way to trim spending where you can. A quick call to your telephone or cable company requesting a lower rate may save you a few dollars a month. Auto or home insurance premiums can also be cut by increasing deductibles or combining policies. Eat dinner at home more often, create new meals with leftovers and pack your lunch. If you must shop, scour the Web before you shop for store-specific promo codes or printable coupons.
Build an Emergency Fund
As the name indicates, this type of account should be used for emergencies, not for major purchases. Financial planners and experts recommend putting aside 3-8 months' worth of living expenses. If you own a home or have kids, you may lean towards the latter. For many of us, this may seem like an insurmountable figure. However, between cutbacks and lifestyle changes, purposeful funneling of money into this account, hard work and commitment, you can get closer to being in control of your finances.
Plan for Your Retirement
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Americans are likely to spend two decades in retirement. So once you've tackled your immediate financial future, you've got to start looking at your long-term needs. If your employer has a retirement plan, consider contributing, especially if a match is offered. Financial planning firms and discounted brokerage firms can also provide you with assistance with other types of retirement plans, such as a traditional or Roth IRA.
Pay Off Balances
Make a conscious effort to pay down your debt. Pay above the minimum monthly payment when you can. In addition, whenever possible, contribute extra lump sum payments toward the principal balance. If the interest rate you're being charged is in the double digits, consider calling the company to negotiate a lower rate or transferring balances to another open account with a lower interest rate.
Now we all need certain tangibles, but the key word is need. Whenever you contemplate making a purchase, ask yourself if you have the cash (not the credit) to back up the purchase. Then question if the item is essential to your basic living needs. Consider how far the purchase will set you back from your monetary goal. If you're a habitual shopper who is trying to gain financial control, just say no. Don't deprive yourself of wants, but if the expense doesn't fit into your balance sheet, then you can't afford it.
Do you have experience working with computers? Are you tech savvy? Read on to learn about some high-paying technical jobs that can help get your finances under control.