Learning to budget and dealing with money, can be a little confusing and scary for some people. If you find that you are in that situation, this article will give you some great tips that you need to start off on the right foot. It won’t be long before you are a personal finance guru.
You need to meet certain qualifications before you can rent an apartment. Be sure you have verifiable income, acceptable credit, and enough funds for the security deposit and the first month’s rent. Don’t forget that if you have less than perfect credit, the electric, gas, phone, and cable companies usually ask for a security deposit before they establish service under your name.
You can save money by tweaking your air travel schedule in the small scale as well as by shifting trips by days or over seasons. Flights in the early morning or the late night are often significantly cheaper than mid-day trips. As long as you can arrange your other travel requirements to fit off-hour flying you can save a pretty penny.
If a credit card is close to its limit, consider transferring portions of the balance to a different card. Having a card that is almost maxed out is a huge blow to your FICO score. Transferring part of the balance will even up the credit you have available on your cards.
When you’ve decided on a monthly budget for your new car purchase, make sure that the monthly price you pay for the car loan itself is at least 5% less than your decided budget. You will need this wiggle room for gas, insurance, maintenance and possible repairs.
One of the best ways to start saving is to get an old-fashioned piggy bank. Get a big plastic one that cannot be opened. Put all your change in your piggy bank and if you find money or get money as a gift, put half of it in the piggy bank. When the piggy bank is full, cut it open. You will have a great start to a savings account.
Keep your credit card receipts and compare them to your credit card bill each month. This allows you to spot any errors or fraudulent purchases before too much time has elapsed. The sooner you deal with problems, the sooner they are corrected and the less likely that they will have a negative impact on your credit score.
If you must get a credit card to manage your finances, try for a no-fee rewards card. While credit cards can easily cause more damage than do good, a rewards card will at least give you something back for the money you spend on it. Don’t be tempted to overspend to earn those rewards, though.
Some banks offer great rewards if you are able to refer a customer to their location and they open up an account at a branch. Try to take advantage of this opportunity, as you can add anywhere between 25-100 dollars just for recommending a friend or family member to the bank.
Eliminate unnecessary credit cards. You do not need to have a multitude of credit cards open on your credit report. This costs you a lot of money in interest fees and drags down your credit score if you have them all above 20% of the available maximum balance. Write the creditors a letter and pay off the balance.
When you need a loan to finance your real estate buying or selling, try to work with a portfolio lender. A portfolio lender is one that will retain ownership of your loan rather than resell it to third parties. They are superior lenders because they tend to offer more flexible financing and they develop a personal relationship with you.
Do not, if at all possible, spend more money than you make. Obviously, situations arise, and sometimes it is alright to borrow money. However, it is important to live below your means. Sacrifice a little now, and later you will reap greater benefits than you can imagine.
If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching funds, take the maximum deduction from your paycheck. Your company’s matching funds are like an automatic return on your money, on top of the returns from your 401(k) investment choices. Not taking full advantage of the match is like refusing free money.
Compare prices. Stretch your personal finances! The grocery store can be very tricky from a financial perspective. To save money, evaluate what products you’d prefer to splurge on, and what costs you can cut back on by buying the store brand. While it’s important to eat nutritious and tasty foods, you just might find that you can eat just as well – while also being a bit more frugal about it.
Don’t let banks use your money for free. Many banks require customers to maintain a high minimum balance to avoid fees for checking or savings accounts, but pay very low or no interest on the amount. You can usually find a better deal at a credit union or an online bank.
Diversify your investments using mutual funds. It’s difficult and expensive for a small investor to create a diversified portfolio using individual securities, but a no-load mutual fund can provide instant diversification at low cost. You can invest as little as $1000 in a fund that holds anywhere from 20 to several hundred securities, for an annual fee as low as 1%. Diversification helps to lower investment risk by reducing dependence on any one security to provide a favorable return.
Anyone who makes very little money and has trouble paying his rent should get on the waiting list for Section 8 housing as soon as possible. Due to the economy, waiting lists for Section 8 housing are very long, with average waiting times of 1-3 years. Some people, such as those with certain disabilities, can get into units somewhat faster.
Now that you see how easy personal finance can be, hopefully you have changed your attitude a little. It is not hard to be in control of your money and it is very beneficial to do so. Take pride in the money that you have earned and use it wisely.
Satovsky Asset Management (SAM) is a New York City based independent registered investment advisory firm. If you’d like to learn more about wealth management contact Satovsky Asset Management at www.satovsky.com.