If you are one of the millions living paycheck to paycheck, taking control of your personal finances is absolutely necessary. This may mean learning to live in an entirely different way than you are used to. Follow the advice below to take control of your personal finances and ease the transition to the changes you must make.
When renting a home with a boyfriend or girlfriend, never rent a place that you would not be able to afford on your own. There may be circumstances like losing a job or breaking up that might leave you in the position of paying the entire rent by yourself.
Before purchasing a car, build up a strong down payment amount. Save money everywhere you can for a while in order to be able to put a significant amount of money down when you purchase. Having a large down payment will help with your monthly payments and it may make it easier to get better interest rates even with bad credit.
If you are currently paying for your checking account, it’s time to find a new one. Banks compete for your business, and so many offer free checking with amenities and services similar to those you used to have to pay for. Shop around and find one that won’t charge you on a monthly basis.
Knowledge is one of the more essential components to understanding where you are and what must be done to establish your goals. Realize that over time, your expenses are bound to go up and plan. Maintaining this understanding, will reduce stress and put you in a better situation, financially.
Make sure that you set a goal for how much you want to save per month, whether it is a percentage or dollar amount. Setting this goal will prevent you from extra spending at the end of the month, knowing that you have to hit a certain benchmark to succeed.
If you want to repair or improve your credit score, keep the balances on your credit cards as low as possible. Using less of your available credit tells creditors that you aren’t in financial difficulties, which translates into an increased credit score. Using about thirty percent of your available credit is the sweet spot.
Find out whether the utilities are included in the rent or you have to pay them separately. If you need to pay your utilities separately do some research and find out how much the average utility bill is. Make sure you can afford the utilities and the rent together or look for public assistance programs you may qualify for.
Do not get a credit card until you are familiar with its terms. Credit card companies do not always tell you important information regarding their policies and fees. Make sure to read any documents carefully before signing up for a credit card. Ask a family member or friend if you do not know what the terms mean.
To make sure your checking account isn’t a drain on your finances, take the time to find a truly free checking account. Some checking accounts claim to be free, but have high minimum funds requirements or will charge a fee if you don’t have direct deposit. This can put you in a bad place if you become unemployed. A totally free checking account will allow you to make the best use of your finances no matter what your situation is.
Save a little money where you can. Look for substitute goods. For example, this week at my grocery store, I could have bought a pound of beef for stew, precut into neat little cubes from the scrap trimmed off of beef round, for 3.50. On the other hand, I could have chopped it myself from the beef round roast for $2.50.
Sometimes one form of a good is just as good but cheaper than another. Frozen vegetables are often a great example; frozen green beans are just as crisp and tasty as fresh green beans, and often more nutritious due to nutrient degradation after travel time, but cost half as much or less, especially during the winter.
You will begin to feel a sense of fulfillment once you take control of your personal finances. The advice above will help you achieve your goals. You can get through the worst of financial times with a little bit of advice and sticking to your plan will assure success in the future.