The sad truth is that many of us were not well-educated about how to use money…if we were educated at all. I remember a class in high school called Consumer Economics. All I learned from it was how to properly make out a check! And maybe balance a checkbook.
But how do you save for goals? Handle medical expenses? Improve your home? Pay all your bills? Take care of your student loans? Take care of your pets’ medical expenses? If you’re like me, you’ve already thought about finding a cheaper place to live or brown bagging lunch more often.
Here are some additional tips from the FINRA/BBB publication:
- Lighten your load. Pay priority household expenses first, in full.
- Take care of bills right away. This will help you avoid fees and penalties and it will improve your credit.
- Get rid of high-cost debts. Don’t just pay the minimum balance—pay as much as you can and avoid extra purchases, until the debt is gone.
- Don’t max out your credit cards. This hurts your credit rating, and increases interest rates.
- Pay the monthly bill for your goal. Decide how much you can afford to spend on your goal. Then put that money aside each month, just like you would for the rent or house payment.
- Remember your goal before you spend. Ask yourself: once I get this thing home, will it make me happy? Do I need it or want it? Will it get me closer to my goal? Once you handle basic expenses, try to spend on things that will help you achieve your goal.
And remember, you can keep more of your money by paying attention to the real costs of services. You’ll be singing all the way to the bank if you can avoid:
- Bounced check fees.
- Payday loans.
- Check cashing and wire transfer service fees.
- Tax refund anticipation loans.