With all due respect to the importance of personal relationships, one of the most important facets of a successful life is personal finance. Making money, keeping it, and growing it makes the rest of your life easier and more enjoyable. Here are some ideas to help increase your personal bottom line.
If you have a good credit score, be careful about co-signing for someone, especially if they have a bad score or are not likely to pay off their debt. Co-signing does not improve your own score in any way and puts a lot of pressure on you. Do it if you are sure that the person you are co-signing for can do the same for you.
Monitor your accounts for signs of identity theft. Purchases you don’t remember making or credit cards showing up that you don’t remember signing up for, could all be signs that someone is using your information. If there is any suspicious activity, make sure to report it to your bank for investigation.
For those individuals that have credit card debt, the best return on your money would be to minimize or pay off those credit card balances. Generally, credit card debt is the most expensive debt for any household, with some interest rates that exceed 20%. Start with the credit card that charges the most in interest, pay it off first, and set a goal to pay off all credit card debt.
Keep your checkbook balanced. It’s really not so hard and can save you the expense and embarrassment of bounced checks and overdrawn fees. Do not just call the bank for a balance and count on having that amount in your account. Some debits and checks may not have cleared yet, resulting in overdrafts when they hit the bank.
Groceries are essential to purchase during the course of the week, as it should be your mission to limit the amount you spend when you are at the supermarket. One of the ways that you can do this is to ask for a supermarket card, which will give you all of the deals in the store.
One of the best ways to get the best bang for your buck is to reuse items that are not perishable. When you bring your lunch to work, use the same container over and over. This will reduce the amount of brown bags that you have to buy, while still keeping your food secured and fresh.
Set up any bills that you can to be directly withdrawn from your checking account. This will assure that they are always paid on time as long as you have the available funds in your checking account that is needed to make these payments. It is easy to set up and will save a ton of time and money in late fees.
These tips should have given you many ideas — and a jump-start to your motivation — to make smart money decisions. Whether it’s earning, saving, investing, or even spending, you can now face the financial world with more confidence and less intimidation. Here’s to a brighter future and your increased net worth!