As the end of the year approaches, so comes the idea of New Year’s resolutions. The ones that we set for our finances are usually the toughest to maintain. Saving for retirement, paying down debt and sticking to a budget is not on our top ten funnest things to do list. In order to be successful at getting your finances into shape, you have to start with manageable steps.
Below are 75 personal finance tips you can use every day to help keep you on track to meet your personal finance goals.
If you have trouble remembering important financial tasks, creating a financial calendar with all the important financial dates and deadlines is essential. If you are someone who is always on the go, download a reminder app for your iPhone or Android.
Having a workable personal budget will help you reach your financial goals. There are plenty of easy to use budget templates online to help you get started. If you are super busy and need something more mobile, these personal finance apps will do the trick.
Knowing the interest rate on your loans and credit cards will help you decide which you should be paying off first. If you find your interest rates are very high, you may consider refinancing your loans.
To calculate your net worth, you add up everything you own (value of your home, cash etc) and then subtract the sum of all of your debts (mortgage, student or car loans, credit cards etc). Knowing and monitoring your net worth is key in measuring the financial progress you are making.
This is one of the best tips for your personal finance goals. Every quarter, go through all your bills and expenditures and see where you are spending money but not getting the value you would like.
Whether you are shopping online or in a store, always check to see if the store offers a coupon code. RetailMeNot is a great site for this.
If you don’t use your gym membership or watch those movie cable channels, cancel them. You will save yourself at least $20 bucks a month.
It may sound helpful, but overdraft protection is an easy way for the banks to promote over spending and then hit you with a nice fee for using it. Avoid these fees altogether by signing up for a checking account with no overdraft fees. If you are happy with your current bank, there are ways to avoid those overdraft fees.
Pay yourself first by setting up automatic funds transfers. This will help boost your savings and keep your financial goals on track. You can’t miss what is not there.
If you are someone who tends to overspend and are often wondering where your money goes, trying out a cash only lifestyle will quickly break you out of that habit. It may seem overwhelming but it is doable and it may even become your new favorite money-saving strategy.
60 seconds is all it takes to do a quick check of your financial transactions. Doing this daily ritual will help you spot any issues immediately, keep you on track with your budget goals as well as your spending the rest of the day.
If you don’t know the 50/30/20 rule by now, you should familiarize yourself with it. 50% towards needs (groceries, utilities etc), 30% towards wants and 20% towards savings (emergency fund and retirement account) and repayment of debts.
Every time you are about to make a purchase or pay a bill, pause for ten seconds and really give thought to whether you need the item or all those extra cable channels.
This is separate from your emergency fund. This account is there for those unexpected expenses that come up like your car needing new brakes. Whether you can save $500 or $1500, this can really help keep your budget on track. So the next time you save money with a coupon or get something on sale, deposit those savings into this account.
If you have a splurge item you want to buy, increase the savings you are already setting aside. Come back in a few months and re-evaluate the want. If you end up realizing you don’t want it, you now have extra money in your savings.
Instead of heading out for an expensive night of dinner and cocktails, extend an invite to your friends to come over for a game night or to cook dinner.
Give your accounts a nickname like “Vacation” to help motivate you to save and lessen the temptation to withdraw money.
When it comes to creating the financial life we want, a little motivation goes a long way. Crafting a financial vision board can serve as a great reminder to help you stay in line with your financial goals.
Visual cues are great for helping you meet your financial goals. For example, put your financial app right next to your Facebook app. Saving up for that big trip? Write on a sticky note and put it on your mirror so that you see it every morning. Reminders go a long way.
When we say specific, we mean exact dates and numbers. For example, come up with an amount related to your debt that you want paid off and by what date. Or how much you want to save and by when. Coming up with detailed financial goals like this will help you stay on track to reaching your financial objectives.
Come up with a positive spending mantra to use as a guide for how you plan to spend your money each day. Say things to yourself like “Is XYZ better than a cruise next summer?” or come up with a dollar limit on charging like “I will only use my credit card for purchases above $50 dollars".
If you try to have no spending days, you will most likely fail and end up binge spending. Instead, fill your extra time with getting involved and being active. By doing this, you will not have time to give in to that Nordstrom anniversary sale.
The key to avoiding the burnout that comes with bigger goals like saving for a home, is to come up with some short-term savings goals. This can be anything from a vacation in 6 months or any home improvements you have wanted to do.
If you start telling yourself you won’t achieve the financial goals you have set..you just might not! Get those positive money mantras going.
They say your productivity spikes after you have exercised. So take up jogging or any other physical activity and bring your financial status to new levels.
Having appreciation for what you have, and not trying to pursue happiness by collecting more stuff, will lead to a happier life all around.
When trying to stay on track with your financial goals, having someone to hold you accountable can go a long way. Whether it’s a significant other, a friend or a financial coach, align yourself with someone who can help you stay on track.
You are the only one that can make your financial goals happen. Perhaps you are expecting a bonus or looking forward to that tax return. Head on over to FutureMe.org and send yourself an email for a later date as a reminder to save that money for retirement.
Increase your salary potential by getting a side gig. Thanks to the internet, there are many ways to earn some extra cash, regardless of what your day job is. Some are a quick fix for making money, others may take some investment of your time. From dog walking to survey taking, you are sure to find something.
You are in control of the amount of money you make. If you want to get ahead, increase your skill set and knowledge base to command a higher pay.
Everyone wants a successful career and in order to achieve that, you need to have an idea of where you want your career to go. A good mentor can give you helpful feedback and insight on how to grow your career and make sure you are on the track to boosting your earning potential.
Whenever you are in salary negotiations for a new job, always get the employer to name a figure first. This way you don’t fall into the trap of going too high or too low. Also keep in mind these negotiable non-salary benefits.
When the last recession hit, less than half of the people who qualified for unemployment actually applied. Be sure to check the guidelines for unemployment benefits in your state. There are also additional steps you should take when you lose your job.
Your employer is not interested in your quest for a new home. Their interest is in keeping a great employee. For this reason, in order to be successful at getting that pay raise, put emphasis on the value you can contribute. If you are not sure of what your job is worth, find out.
When you are carrying a large amount of debt, they say that paying off small debts can boost your confidence to handle the larger debt. Also, always remember to pay more than the minimum each month.
If you come across something you really want to buy, jot it down or take a picture of it. Wait a few days or even a few weeks and see if the same want is still there. Chances are your desire for the item has fizzled and you realize the money can be better used on something else.
Spending less than you earn is a key aspect of money management and ultimately building wealth. There are many online money management tools to help you stay in control of both your saving and spending.
In order to limit temptation, unsubscribe to all online store emails. Online shopping is way too easy and can get out of hand.
We have all been confronted with tempting sales tactics like "buy one get one 50% off". Truly think about whether you need the item and what value it will bring to you. Chances are you will end up putting it back.
Credit cards are the easy answer to overspending. Stay away from temptation by storing your credit cards in a draw at home.
When it comes to a car, you need to figure out what you really can afford. You need to consider the length of the loan and not just the monthly payment. A loan with a 96 month term, may give you the monthly payment you want but you will paying interest over the life of the loan as well. While you are at it, don’t forget to factor in gas and insurance costs as these vary by car type.
We all stress over that birthday present or invitation to that expensive event. Stop feeling bad for the inexpensive gift or the unattended event. Put you and your family first and everyone else a distant second.
We have all seen the three-year plan break down that the credit card company gives you when you get your statement. They do this if making only the minimum payment takes longer than three years. Be sure to always pay more than the minimum to avoid paying all that interest.
Most of us go out shopping and end up with more than we intended to buy. When you are in the checkout line, choose at least one item to put back. This is a great trick to help cut down on the impulse buying we are all guilty of at times.
If you cosign a loan and a payment is missed, your credit score will drop and the lender will look to you for the money. As for parents, if you’re child is in college and they ask you to be a cosigner for a private loan , make certain your child has exhausted all grant, federal, and scholarship options. If they are graduating, come up with a plan to get the student loans paid back.
Even if you do not think you are eligible for the FAFSA, apply anyway. This is money that does not need to be paid back and every year there are thousands of dollars left on the table. The FAFSA guidelines change each year so be sure to check before applying.
Your dream job may not come to fruition right out of college, so federal student loans are the way to go because of their payment flexibility. Avoid any student loan traps by doing your homework before you apply for any loans.
Looking to buy a home? Find out what mortgage payment you can actually afford before you start looking. 28% of your income is all you should be looking to spend. And if you plan on buying a home in 2018, check out these strategies.
You get what you pay for! We have all heard that one. That $10 shirt may seem like the right choice, but is the quality there?
When you are contemplating those new fabulous boots, calculate how long you would have to work in order to pay for them. You may decide they are not worth it.
Experiences lend themselves to great memories. Put your money towards them and not towards material things and you will be happier for it.
You tend to spend more money when shopping with a friend, so the next time you venture out to the mall, consider going solo.
There is no time like the present when it comes to saving. Forget about the future potential raise or any other excuse you can think of about why you can’t save money. Money that you put aside for your retirement today will have time to experience compound growth.
Withdrawing money from your retirement account prematurely has many cons and should be your very last option.
When it comes to a 401k, it’s all about the employer match. For this reason, it is smart to contribute the max dollar amount. If your employer does not offer a 401k, look into other types of retirement savings plans.
In addition to a 401k, you should look into opening a Roth IRA. Since this is after tax money, you will benefit from the tax-free income in retirement. Tax rates are only going to continue to go up so be ready.
Both life insurance and disability insurance are fundamental to a long-term financial plan. Accidents do happen and you want to make sure your loved ones are protected.
If you have a family, there is no question you need to have these 4 documents set up: a revocable living trust, a will, a durable power of attorney for finances and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.
Any increase in pay you receive should also mean an increase in contribution to your savings and your retirement accounts. This is one of the key steps in saving for retirement.
Your credit score plays a crucial role in your financial success. Lenders will use this three digit number in deciding whether you'll be approved for a car loan, mortgage, credit card as well as any other loan type. If you have a poor credit score, reach out to a credit repair company to help you get it back on track.
Your credit utilization rate refers to the amount of credit you have outstanding. This is calculated by taking your remaining balances and dividing that by your total credit limit from your cards. Credit usage above 30% can bring down your credit score.
It can be hard to get a credit card if you have poor credit. A secured card can help you build your credit back up like a regular card. Whatever amount you deposit is your available credit, making it hard to overspend.
Using the same bank for both your checking and savings account makes it too easy to swap funds between the two. Make it easy on yourself and keep them at separate banks.
Because they are a not-for-profit entity, credit union members experience more benefits than what you would get from a traditional bank. This can be in the form of more personal customer service, more desirable interest rates and lower fees.
The following scenarios are the only time you should reach into your savings: your car breaks down, a medical emergency, you have lost your job, emergency home reparations (like a broken A/C in mid summer) or you have to travel for a funeral. You may feel tempted to touch your savings for that new dress, but don’t. Anything outside of these reasons is just not reason enough to touch your savings.
If you have at least six months of savings stocked away as well as money saved for any short-term goals, it is time to think about investing your money.
Investment fees are rampant and can really eat up your returns if you are not careful. A 1% fee may seem low, but it can really make a dent in your return.
Every year it is important to review how your investments are allocated and if any shifting needs to occur in order to keep your financial goals on track. Here is some great info on how to keep your portfolio balanced.
Take the initial principle and calculate interest on that plus interest on top of that. It is basically interest on top of interest which allows money to rapidly grow.
Prior to getting your first paycheck, it is important that you have a clear understanding of how income taxes work. You need to know how to calculate whether your salary will be enough to pay all your obligations as well as help you meet your financial goals. You can find many resources online to calculate all that for you, such as Paycheck City.
By decreasing your tax withholding, you will have more money in your paycheck. Just be sure you are adding the extra money to your savings and not spending it.
As you get started in investing, it is wise to consult with a financial adviser that can help you come up with a long-term investment plan. Once you know what you are doing, you can handle it on your own.
When you first start investing you may be working with less money. With that being said, you do not want to put all your money into one stock. You want to make sure you are diversified, so going with an ETF (exchange-traded fund)or a no-load mutual fund is a good idea.