10 Ways To Keep Your Personal Finances In Check
Coming up with 10 ways to keep personal finances in check is not difficult if a plan is written out as a personal contract to yourself. I came up with a list which I think is practical and sensible. Maybe the “Fat Cats” who got the U.S. Economy in the mess it's in today can heed some of this advice.
1. Start Saving-This may sound all to obvious, but the best way to avoid getting into debt is to have a back-up savings plan. People get into debt because they feel they can never get ahead so they out of frustration start spending more than they can afford. Stop the unnecessary buying. This behavior makes you feel better but is only short-lived once the bills start coming in.The bottom line is only buy what you can afford.
2. Put the freeze on your credit Cards-Having plastic empowers people to spend just because they have a credit line.You don't have to take money out of your wallet or purse and give it to somebody in random spending. Shopping with credit is pretty painless until the bill hits the mailbox. Stop this practice.
3. Plan Expenses-Have a monthly budget planned out for every bill that's due. This includes the mortgage or rent, insurance, utilities, groceries and so on. Don't forget to pay yourself by saving. Any extra money can go for something like a movie or dinner. With a plan like this, at least you know where you stand on spending any extra money.
4.Have Designated Savings-Have a special savings accounts for emergencies like car or home repairs. Have a Holiday Club account for Holiday shopping at the end of the year. These things will keep you out of debt if you follow your own plan.
5. Don't keep up with the Joneses-We all have friends or acquaintances that may have more material possessions than we have, but many of them are probably deep in debt. This does not make them better people than us. Be happy with what you have and live within your means.
6. Don't leverage too high-if you have financial assets that are in good shape try not to take loans out on them to purchase other assets. In the 1990s many people took out loans against their stocks to buy more stocks and when the stock market fell, they lost big. Be Smart.
7. From debt to equity-once you've paid off a car, credit card or even a mortgage, take that payment money and set up a mutual fund or investment fund and build up your net worth. (On this one you may want to watch from the sidelines until our economy picks up.)
8. Food and Household Goods Shopping-When grocery shopping, clip coupons from newspapers and magazines. Join coupon websites for even more savings. It's free. Do comparison shopping in store ads before going out to shop.The most important factor in shopping is to make a list and stick to it.
9. Clothing, shoes and other apparel-Plan ahead and buy when items are on sale . Don't wait until the prices go up . Don't be ashame to head straight to the clearance rack in Department Stores where items are significantly marked down. If you have Outlet Stores nearby go there for deals on almost everything for your family and home.
10. STOP Impulse Buying-Last but not least.....don't impulse buy something when you go shopping for specific items. If you just buy things just because you like it, but never had it in mind until you actually saw it, then "YOU DON'T NEED IT!
Cool-down Period for big Purchases-If you're in the market for a new vehicle,appliances,or furniture, don't make the purchase right away because you have a good salesperson and it seems as though you are getting the best deal ever. Go home and talk about it with your partner, a friend,or someone you have confidence in to help you make a sound decision.