You are considering a program of personal finance. What are your long-term and short-term goals? Are you planning for retirement or just for a nice vacation next summer? Once your goal is clear, you have to get very practical. How much money is coming in? What are the risks and rewards of a given plan?
Concentrate your loans into one simple loan to fortify your personal finance goal. Not only can this make keeping track of where all your money is going, but also it gives you the added bonus of not having to pay interest rates to a variety of places. One simple interest rate beats four to five interest rates at other places.
A home and a car are probably going to be the largest purchases you have to make. Payments on principal and interest for these items are sure to take the biggest chunk out of your monthly income. Try to get the balance down by at least sending in one additional payment every year or applying some of your tax return money to the balance.
Write down numbers for contacting service providers such as your credit cards and bank in the event of loss or theft. With these toll-free numbers at hand, reporting and canceling will be much easier. They will also help if you need to find locations to get cash quickly. Store these numbers in your phone as well, but keep a written copy in case of phone issues.
To help you keep better track of your money, be sure to categorize all of your expenses. Have one category for fixed expenses like the mortgage payment, another for variable expenses like the phone bill and credit card payments, and a third for things like shopping trips or meals out.
If your bank is suddenly adding fees for things that were previously free, like charging a monthly fee to have an ATM card, it might be time to investigate other options. Shop around to find a bank that wants you as a customer. Regional banks might offer better options than large national banks and if you are eligible to join a credit union, add them to your comparison shopping, too.
When applying for a home loan, try to look good to the bank. Banks are looking for people with good credit, a down payment, and people who have a verifiable income. Banks have been raising their standards due to the increase in mortgage defaults. If you have problems with your credit, try to have it repaired before you apply for a loan.
If you are struggling to get by, look in newspapers and on the internet for a second job. Even though this may not pay that much, it will help you get through the struggles that you are currently going through. A little goes a long way, as this extra income will help extensively.
Write your budget down if you want to stick to it. There is something very concrete about writing something down. It makes your income versus spending very real and helps you to see the benefits of saving money. Evaluate your budget monthly to make sure it’s working for you and that you really are sticking to it.
Get yourself a free checking account. Checking accounts these days charge an average of about $13.00 in monthly fees, and usually require a minimum balance to keep the account free. Switch to a no-fee account that requires no minimum balance and does not charge per transaction. Try smaller banks in your community, online-only banks or credit unions.
After reading these tips you have probably already sketched out a plan in your mind for achieving your goal. If that goal is a trip to the French Alps next summer, you will have checked out airfares and hotels. Whatever the goal, practical planning now will enable you to achieve it.