9 Financial Tips Everyone Should Know

Wishing you earned more money, had more tucked away in a savings account or knew how to stretch your dollar farther is all well and good. Wishes are only granted in fairy tales, though and creating financial success is something you must work at. No matter what stage of life you are in, having a plan to improve your financial status is always a good thing to start with. If you feel lost and are looking for strategies to employ in your quest for financial success and stability, then these 9 financial tips will help you develop that plan to get you there.

1. Make a Budget and Stick to It

This may seem like old news but it is the building block of everything else you do in your journey to financial success. If you don’t know where and how you are spending your money, there is no way you can control your spending and adhere to any kind of savings plan. Once you identify your basic needs and regular expenses, you can begin to make sense of what is happening to your money and what you need to do to make changes.

2. Get Paid the Proper Wage and Spend Less Than You Earn

If we focus on the first part of this tip, you need to find out what you are worth in the job market. That means analyzing what others doing your job with your qualifications earn. Take into account your specific skills, your level of productivity, the tasks you perform and any educational requirements necessary to fulfill the demands of the job. Find out what the position pays both at your current company and at other companies in your area. Being underpaid, even as little as $1,000 per year, can have a huge effect on your overall financial success.

Once you are earning what you should be, you need to live within your means. This means not spending more than your earn. Taking out loans and running up credit cards will only get you in hot water financially.

3. Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Speaking of credit cards, get rid of them. They are a temptation to spend money you don’t have. If you have credit card debt, work diligently to pay it off. You can potentially save thousands of dollars in interest and that money could be put to other use.

4. Have a Savings Plan

Obviously you need to make sure your necessities like food, clothing, transportation and shelter are met. After that, you need to put some money away out of each and every paycheck. Many people find it easier to treat their savings like a bill that has to be paid. Once you start, it becomes habit and is easier to do.

5. Contribute to a Retirement Plan

Many companies offer 401(k) plans to employees. The 401(k) is a great retirement savings plan and even better if your company matches part of the money you contribute to it. If you have a plan already, try to increase the amount you are allowed to contribute to the maximum allowable. If no 401(k) is available, open an IRA at your local bank and deposit the maximum allowable.

6. Review Insurance Coverage

There are so many types of insurance on the market and it’s easy to be talked into something you don’t need. It is just as easy to be under-insured as it is to be over-insured. Make sure you have only the insurance you need and in the amounts that make sense for you and your family.

7. Take Advantage of Employee Benefits

In addition to the 401(k) plan mentioned above, many employers offer other valuable benefits you may not be taking full advantage of. Some companies will allow you to trade unused vacation, sick days or personal days for cash. Unless you are taking a special trip or really need a break, you can cash those days in and use the extra cash to start that savings or retirement plan or pay down some of your credit debt. Other benefits worth taking advantage of include flexible spending accounts, medical and dental insurance. Some can save you money out of pocket while others may reduce your tax liability.

8. Take Time to Maintain Good Records

Keeping good financial records comes in handy for several reasons but the biggest is for your income taxes. By maintaining good records, you can take and justify all the deductions that you are allowed to take. You’ll need to create a filing or record keeping system and then stick to it. Once you do, you’ll be glad you did. It makes things much easier when it is time to prepare your taxes.
By keeping track of receipts and expenses, you will notice when you are overbilled for something. You will be able to put your hands on that receipt you need so you can return an item that isn’t working out. As you can see, good record keeping can save you a bundle.

9. Pay Your Mortgage Off Early

Once you have eliminated your credit card debt, the next thing to tackle is your mortgage. In most cases, it is a payment we have to make for 20 to 30 years. The bulk of what you are paying is interest. The sooner you can pay it off, the less interest you will pay. Even if the only thing you can do for now is to send and extra $10 or $25 dollars with each payment, it can save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the mortgage.

Following these tips will not necessarily lead you to wealth but it can help you live a more satisfying and stress-free life. Reducing debt, saving for emergencies and planning for your future retirement can give you a sense of well-being. As you implement these tips and watch your financial situation improve, you will become more confident and more dedicated to implementing the rest of the tips. It’s really all up to you and how badly you want that financial security.

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