Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Financial Tips to Help You Go Out With a Bang


There are only three months left before we say Happy New Year again. Many people created New Year’s resolutions some of which included financial goals but many have long forgotten about them.  Now it is time for a financial checkup. One of your goals for 2014 should be to improve your finances even if you are good with managing your money. The key to growing and becoming better at anything you do is to continue to improve.  

Finances are a monumental part of your life.  Finances can destroy relationships; result in divorce, arguments, sadness, depression, anxiety, fear, health issues and unemployment. Finances must be properly managed which requires eradicating bad spending habits and constantly practicing good spending habits no matter how much you earn or think you know.  This is always something you can do even better. 

Make a promise to yourself that you will do at least one thing to become better at managing your finances in the remainder of 2014. A financial goal should be a positive statement, i.e. I will pay off my Visa bill by January 2015 or I will save $1,000 by December 31, 2014. Here are 17 financial tips to help you through the rest of 2104 which will help you save money, improve for your retirement goals, get organized, and reduce stress and give you peace of mind and plan for the year ahead. 

  1. Automate. Pay bills online to prevent late payments, late fees and damage to your credit. Setup automatic withdrawals to contribute to a savings account.
  2. Pay yourself first. Save on a regular basis. Saving a certain amount of money on a regular basis daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. 
  3. Employer Match.  If your employer offers a matching 401(k) contribution, save at least enough to capture the match.
  4. Banking. Use direct deposit for paychecks. Open a checking account with overdraft protection to save on bank fees. Use in-network ATMs.
  5. Spending. Reduce spending by 30% each month to free up money to pay down debt or contribute to a savings account.
  6. Cell Phone. Get a basic plan with basic features.  Comparison shop to see what company provides the best value for your money. Ask about discounts and specials.  Some discounts are provided through employers and certain organization memberships. Call every 3 – 6 months to find out about discounts and specials.
  7. Cancel services. Cancel your cable, internet or cell phone service or get the cheapest plan possible. Use your cell phone to make long distance calls.
  8. Investment fees. Find out how much you are paying in investment or retirement plan fees. If you are paying more than 0.50 percent in expenses you are paying too much.
  9. Get a roommate.  Rent out a room in your home or apartment.  Sleep in the basement or on a couch to rent out a room if you only have one bedroom.  Use the extra money to pay down debt or create a savings account. Also consider downsizing your living arrangements temporarily.
  10. Combine. Combine insurance policies with one company to save money and receive discounts and specials.
  11. Kitchen.  Use everything in your kitchen to make meals and use all items until nothing is left then go shopping. Use coupons to save even more money.
  12. Carpool. Carpool, use car sharing services or consider selling your car to save money.
  13. Discounts. Use membership discounts. Many insurance companies, credit card companies or membership clubs offer discounts such as AAA, Amazon Prime, Diners Club, American Express, etc. that many people are not aware of. Call and ask about discounts and start using them.
  14. Prescriptions. Buy a 3 month supply of prescriptions, buy generic or buy online. Ask about discounts, specials and less inexpensive versions of the same prescription
  15. Rewards Cards. Sign up for loyalty cards at all stores where you shop including grocery stores, hotels, rental cars, drug stores and airlines.
  16. Personal Care. Go to a training school for services: go to a beauty school, barber school, dental school or veterinary school to save money on hair care, dental care and pet care costs.
  17. Skip the pampering.  Skip the hairdresser and barber or reduce visits by half each month.  Skip the spa or nail salon for those facials, manicures and pedicures. Try doing them yourself to save money.

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