Guest Post by Kristy Ramirez
8 Ways to Improve Your Financial Health
Even though the economy has hit some countries harder than others, those who struggle financially can probably use these tips on how to become more financially stable, and eventually financially secure, with a nice nest egg and the bills under control.
There are many things we can all do to alleviate needless spending, overspending, trips, gym memberships and extravagant dinners out – to minimize weekly and monthly costs and eventually get back on track, financially.
Here are some tips to help you get there:
1. Shop conservatively:
There is no reason to buy products that are not on sale – even if you need them. If the grocery item you want isn’t on sale, buy the generic brand, but don’t pay full price for anything anymore.
Know what is on sale before you go and make a list and don’t sway from that list. People who shop without a list end up buying much more than they need. And by all means, don’t go to the store hungry!
2. Create a budget:
Experts cannot emphasize this enough – without a budget you are flying blind. Give yourself a specific amount for necessities (not luxuries) and stick to that budget no matter what. If you run out of cash at the end of the month, stick to simple inexpensive meals, such as beans and rice or pasta.
Check out the best personal finance software – to get you on track.
3. Start a savings:
If you can’t get your hands on at least $1,000.00 right now, you could end up in hot water should you experience an emergency.
Get at least that much money put away, and it should always be sitting in an account that you can get to if needed.
And once you get that savings started, make regular deposits, because once you see that money start to grow, it inspires you to keep building that nest egg! You never know when you might really need that cash.
4. Non-secure debt:
This is where your money is going out the window, in interest payments. Best suggestion for credit card debt is to search out a ‘balance transfer’ to an introductory zero balance credit card so that you can get that principal paid down. The sooner the better!
Review your insurance policies, and make sure you don’t have too little or too much. You can evaluate your insurance needs with a good insurance agent, who also might be able to save you a little cash every month by transferring to another company that has better rates.
6. Bank Accounts:
Since the credit card act, banks are trying to find ways to make up all of that extra cash they made on interest. Check to see if you’re being charged hidden fees and if they’ve added new fees.
If you want to save on excessive bank fees, consider joining a credit union because banks are seriously overcharging their customers in monthly fees, as well as bank and ATM fees. Credit unions are still somewhat fair.
Also look into a CD or TD or Money Market account so that you can benefit, if even a little, from your savings with interest bearing accounts.
7. Tax returns:
Try not to think of your tax refund as extra money, it is money you paid in that is coming back to you. Put that money to good use by paying down debt, and putting it into some kind of savings, college fund or retirement fund.
8. Focus on debt-free living:
Check and adjust to debt-free living. It is going to save you a lot of hardship if something unexpected happens like a serious medical condition or job loss. Learn how to save, and save regularly.
Retiring can also be a concerning thought, especially if you expect to take a large cut in income, as many retirees do. If you are looking for a way to cover the costs associated with retirement, a reverse-mortgage can help. It is a mortgage unlike the traditional home loans you are used to because it doesn’t require short-term repayment. In fact, repaying it early can cause you to incur high processing fees. Taking out such a loan is simple. You will find out what you can borrow via a tool called a reverse mortgage calculator. Then you will set up terms. For example, you can choose one large payment or many monthly installments. Those payments will be made to you, not by you. Only when you leave your property will you be forced to pay back all of the borrowed money or allow the sale of the property. You will also have to pay interest on the loan. Until then you can enjoy your retirement with a financial safety net.The truth is, now that times are a little tougher for most of us, we should begin to realize that spending money on unnecessary items is going to keep debt at your door. It is when you free yourself from all of this debt that you begin to really live!
Kristy Ramirez is a debt-free, frugal mom accomplishing her dreams by following a few simple financial rules. She is also a writer for Life Insurance Finder.