If you are like most people, you never received instruction on personal finance in school, and your parents probably did not discuss money with you either. After you moved out, you had to muddle along on your own, figuring out on your own how to best manage your personal finances. This article will discuss a few important concepts that you need to know, and will offer a few tips on getting the most out of your money.
Think about the way you drive your car. Do you need to go out 5 times today to run errands, or can you do them in one trip? Do you need to drive to get groceries or can you get them delivered? Changing your driving habits can help you save money on gas.
If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun, use solar panels to save on your energy bill. When you install solar panels, your electricity meter actually runs backward during the day, as it adds power to the grid. Most solar panels will pay for themselves in 7-10 years of use. Watch out for nasty HOA restrictions on solar panels, though.
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.
Since you are already paying for them, make the most of all your employment benefits. That could mean going to the doctor and using your prescription card every time you feel under the weather instead of putting it off until the issue causes you to miss days of unpaid work. That could also mean making the maximum matched contribution to your 401(k).
When going through bankruptcy, don’t let creditors harass you. When you file for bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” goes into effect. This means that creditors can take no action on outstanding debts, including calling your and filing lawsuits. Part of the bankruptcy process is a meeting of creditors, where creditors will have their chance to get as much money from you as your assets allow.
Avoid using “alternative financial services” as a substitute for traditional banking. This includes services such as rent-to-own stores and payday loans. These places extend credit at extremely high effective interest rates, which makes it very difficult to keep up with the payments. This ultimately means you will lose money in the form of fees (payday loans) or losing your equity in the property (rent-to-own).
If money is tight and earning more is simply not a possibility, then spending less is the only way for you to get ahead. Bear in mind that saving just $40 a week by carpooling, cutting coupons and renegotiating or canceling unnecessary services is the equivalent of a $1 per hour raise.
Checkbook management, taxes, budgeting, and stock market investing are all equally important in your personal finance portfolio. Taking care of your personal finances isn’t difficult, but it does require discipline and a little education. Now that you you know the best ways to manage your money, you can put your money to work for you, turning it into a fungible resource.
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