Simple Personal Finance That Just About Anyone Can Use

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?

Carry a small envelope with you wherever you go. It will come in handy for storing business cards, receipts, and other small documents. Store these items away more permanently when you arrive back home. Although, the chance is small that you'll be double charged, having the receipts will make it easier to see on your credit card statement.

Selling some household items that are never used or that one can do without, can produce some extra cash. These items can be sold in a variety of ways including many different online websites. Free classifieds and auction websites offer many options to turn those unused items into extra money.

Set up your bank account to transfer a predetermined sum of money from your checking to your savings once a month. You will forget you even have this money or see it as a bill, just like any other expense. Your savings can add up quickly by doing this.

Get rid of your credit cards to improve your financial situation. Credit cards charge huge interest rates and their fees can be massive as well. It can also be very tempting to run up a larger balance than you can comfortably pay off each month. Instead of plastic, give cash only a try.

Not only can you insure your own medical costs, but pet owners may want to investigate pet insurance. These policies can pay for or kick in to pay for vet services once you reach a deductible amount. Veterinary costs can be expensive, so it make sense to insure you pet, the same way you would a member of the family.

To improve your personal finance habits, project all of your expenses for the coming month when you make your budget. This will help you to make allowances for all of your expenses, as well as make adjustments in real-time. Once you have recorded everything as accurately as possible, you can prioritize your expenses.

Dining out is something that you should do occasionally but it can really take a toll on your bank account over time. If you go out to eat more than one time a week, you will slowly begin to see your savings decline. Limit eating at restaurants to maximize the balance of your bank account.

An easy way to save for something is to put all of your change in a dish or jar at the end of each day. This is a great way to have some extra spending for things that aren't considered necessities, like a vacation or that concert ticket. You can put all the change together or have separate jars for each type of coin.

To keep your personal finances stress free and friendly, try and have a personal contact at any establishment that handles your money. From a favorite teller at your bank to a particular customer service rep at your insurance company, dealing with money feels a lot friendlier (and better) when you see people's faces and think of their names instead of feeling like you're dealing with heartless, greedy corporations.

A good personal finance tip is to make sure you keep all your receipts. You need to hold on to your receipts so that you can balance your checkbook. Receipts are also very important when it's time to do your taxes because the IRS will always ask for proof.

An easy way to keep your finances on track is to have a written budget. To start a personal budget, write all the expenses that you have at the start of each month. Write down everything, including rent payments, heating bills, food and electricity. Make sure your list is thorough and contains all possible expenses. Add all the expenses up, and then you can calculate how much you have to spend and save each month.

Most financial planners agree that the most important step you can take to strengthen your finances, is to pay down your credit card debt. There is a simple and logical reason for this. If the average interest on a consumer's credit card debt is fifteen percent, he would need to find an investment paying a guaranteed rate equal to that, in order to justify not paying that credit card off.

Maximize your mutual-fund investment with dollar-cost averaging. Everyone knows the advice to "buy low and sell high", but even experts can't usually time market tops and bottoms. However, by investing a fixed dollar amount in a mutual fund on a regular schedule, you automatically buy more shares when the price is low and fewer shares when the price is high. This can lower your overall average cost, especially during volatile market conditions.

Avoid impulse buying and extra trips to the store for single items. Keep a running shopping list on your refrigerator door or in some other convenient location. Add items to your list as you run out or as you think of them. Before you go shopping, review your list and add any other items you can think of. Follow your list closely in the store and check out and leave when you have gotten each item you need. This method will save you money, time and gas.

If you are facing high levels of personal debt, you must resist the temptation to go to consolidation companies or enlist the help of a loan provider. These options require you to take on even MORE credit; instead, face the collection agencies and find out what payment options are available to you as you pay your debts.

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.