Personal finance can be easily managed, and savings can be built up by following a strict budget. One problem is that most people live beyond their means and do not save money regularly. In addition, with surprise bills that pop up for car repair or other unexpected occurrences an emergency fund is essential.
Financing real estate is not the easiest task. The lender considers several factors. One of these factors is the debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income that you spend on paying your debts. This includes everything from housing to car payments. It is very important not to make larger purchases before buying a home because that significantly ruins the debt-to-income ratio.
A good rule of thumb for savings, is to put away 10% of your income each payday into a savings account. Make sure that you don’t have a debit or credit card linked to this account, as it is too tempting to spend it if you find something you can’t seem to live without.
Always consider a used car before buying new. Pay cash when possible, to avoid financing. A car will depreciate the minute you drive it off the lot. Should your financial situation change and you have to sell it, you might find it’s worth less than you owe. This can quickly lead to financial failure if you’re not careful.
Staying as responsible as possible, is a key trait in maintaining a solid bank account. When you have a checking account, make sure that you never take more than you have. This can lead to overdraft fees, which can add up over time and have an impact on your overall balance.
Do not take large amounts of loans unless you know that you could pay it back. Choosing a costly private college without having declared a major is a good way to land yourself in perpetual debt.
Drink water when you are eating out! Some restaurants charge almost $3.00 for a soda or glass of tea! When you’re trying to manage your personal finances you just can’t afford that! Order water instead. You’ll still be able to eat out on occasion but over the long run you’ll save a bundle in the cost of drinks alone!
Eating at home and boycotting restaurants is one of the best ways to save money. If you buy your groceries in bulk you can almost always cook at home cheaper than the equivalent meal would cost you in a restaurant. It might be nice to eat out ever once in awhile but think of all the money that is just going down the drain when you do.
Personal finance also includes setting goals for yourself and your money. This includes both short and long term goals like paying off your car and figuring out how much you should put away each month towards your retirement. It is helpful to have some goals that work together, for example, how much extra should you pay each month towards your mortgage so that your house is paid off when you retire.
Contribute to a retirement account and plan for the future! You want to have a nest egg so that you are not living on social security in your old age and you have something to leave your children and love ones. Give what you can to your retirement and if possible see if your employer has any retirement benefits or accounts available.
Avoid overdrafts in your checking account by always rounding to the next dollar when you note the amount of checks in your check register. In this way, your running balance (the amount written in your check register) will always be a little bit less than your actual balance. This will help you build a little safety net in your checking account.
If you plan to open a bank account think about what services you need from the account. Quite often banks charge fees for various services unless you keep a minimum balance. You will have to decide if keeping your money tied-up in a minimum balance is worth the extra services.
Make sure you have at least six months worth of savings in case of job loss, injury, disability, or illness. You can never be too prepared for any of these situations should they arise. Furthermore, keep in mind that emergency funds and savings must be contributed to regularly for them to grow.