Saturday, November 26, 2011

Personal Finance Tips And Tricks From The Experts

By Ryan Fights

Even if you have had difficulties with your personal finances in the past, you do not have to continue on that negative cycle. By learning how to take charge of your money and understand how your finances operate, you can plan your budget and have a successful financial future.

A good start to setting up a budget for yourself is to keep a daily log of your spending. Write down everything you spend money on, whether it's a few dollars for lunch or a car payment. This will help you see where your money is going. Sometimes we don't realize how much the small dollar amounts add up until we see it in front of us.

If your bank charges high monthly fees just for the privilege of keeping a checking account, consider switching to a credit union. Most people are eligible for credit union membership based on where they live or work or organizations they belong to. Because credit unions are member-owned, they do not have to make profits like banks do and so they generally offer much better deals.

If you find that all of your bills are due at roughly the same time of the month, contact your various providers and see what options are available for you to change your monthly due dates. This avoids spreading your paychecks too thin, during each pay period and allows you to manage your cash flow more efficiently.

To improve your personal finance habits, make your budgets simple as well as personal. Instead of creating general categories, stick closely to your own individual spending habits and weekly expenses. A detailed and specific account will allow you to closely keep track of how and where you spend your income.

Consider banking with a credit union. In today's difficult economy, many banks are eliminating free checking accounts or adding new fees and charges. Credit unions, however, are non-profit, so they usually charge lower fees and may offer lower interest rates on credit cards as well, allowing you to keep more of your money.

Don't take out large amounts of student loan debt unless you expect to be in a financial situation to pay it back. Going to an expensive private school while unsure of your major or what career path you're going to take, may mean that you end up in permanent debt.

If offered by your company, consider signing up for a cafeteria plan for your health care costs. These plans allow you to set aside a regular amount of money into an account specifically to use for your medical expenses. The benefit is that this money comes out of your account pretax which will lower your adjusted gross income saving you some money come tax time. You can use these benefits for copays, prescriptions, deductibles and even some over the counter medications.

You now have the tools to begin being in control of your personal finances. Take the tips that apply to your situation and begin a new life of financial independence where you are knowledgeable and in charge. You deserve to have the peace of mind that comes from securing your personal finances.

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