You are considering a program of personal finance. What are your long-term and short-term goals? Are you planning for retirement or just for a nice vacation next summer? Once your goal is clear, you have to get very practical. How much money is coming in? What are the risks and rewards of a given plan?
Set up a bank account for emergency funds, and do not use it for any daily expenses. An emergency fund should only be used for any unexpected expense that is out of the ordinary. Keeping your emergency fund separate from your regular account will give you the peace of mind that you will have money to use when you most need it.
Hiring a credit repair company can help you with some of the legwork involved in cleaning up your credit report, but beware of shady companies that make false or misleading claims. These companies may allege that you can start fresh with a clean credit report by using an Employee Identification number (EIN) rather than your Social Security number. However, they neglect to tell you that requesting an EIN from the IRS for this reason is a federal crime.
If you are having trouble managing all of your bills because they are coming due at the same time, you may be able to rearrange your due-dates to make things easier for you. Contact your credit card company or utility company and ask them if you can change your due-date so you have more time between each bill.
Always pay your credit card bill in full! Many consumers do not realize that paying only the monthly charges allows the credit card company to add interest to your payments. You may end up paying much more than you were originally quoted. To avoid these interest charges, pay as much as you can up front, preferably, the whole amount due.
Do not charge more each month than you can pay when the bill comes in. The interest adds up if you only pay the minimum balance, and you can end up paying much more for your purchase in the end than if you had simply used your own money to buy it outright. Bonuses such as airline miles or even rebates seldom make up for the additional expense.
Credit card balances play a big role in your FICO score. The more that you have left to pay off, the worse your score will be. As soon as you pay down the balance, your score will start to improve. It is a good rule of thumb to keep credit card balances at or below 20% of your credit limit.
Pay down your most expensive debt first. For many consumers, the best way to earn a return on their money is to cut down credit card debt. Even if you could be lucky enough to earn five percent in a CD, your money is better spent paying off that maxed credit card that charges you 14.99 percent.
You should make sure that you spend less than what you earn. No matter how often or how much you get paid, if you spend more than you earn, you will never get ahead. Budget yourself and make sure you meet these goals. Cutting costs by just a little bit can save you big overall.
After reading these tips you have probably already sketched out a plan in your mind for achieving your goal. If that goal is a trip to the French Alps next summer, you will have checked out airfares and hotels. Whatever the goal, practical planning now will enable you to achieve it.