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50 Personal Finance Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Money

https://www.themuse.com/advice/50-personal-finance-tips-that-will-change-the-way-you-think-about-money

themuse.com

50 Personal Finance Tips That Will Change the Way You Think About Money
We've certainly amassed a wealth of knowledge over the years covering the money beat-be it the dozens of "I got out of debt" success stories we've featured to the scores of psychological studies we've covered linking better financial decision-making to behavior change.

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3 Financial Basics

  1. Create a Financial Calendar: prevent yourself from forgetting quarterly tax payments and to get credit reports.
  2. Check Your Interest Rate: Pay off loans, open saving accounts and negotiate credit debts based on interest rates.
  3. Track Your Net Worth: The difference between your assets and debt — it tells you your financial standing. 

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Budgeting Like a Pro

  • Consider an All-Cash Diet, as limiting yourself to physical currency combats overspending.
  • Set aside 1 minute a day to check on your financial transactions, to identify problems, track goal progress and set your spending tone.
  • Allocate at least 20% of your income to financial priorities like emergency funds, debts and retirement fund.
  • Budget about 30% of your income for nonbasic spendings, like entertainment. Abiding by the 30% rule, you can save and splurge at the same time.

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How to Get Money Motivated

How to Get Money Motivated
  • Draft a Financial Vision Board, it motivates and helps you to stay on track with your financial goals.
  • Set specific financial goals stating the reason, the way, numbers and dates.
  • Adopt a spending mantra, a phrase that serves as a rule of thumb for how you spend.
  • Love yourself. Taking control of your finances is part of that.
  • Make bite-size money goals. Make the bigger ones but also small step goals to get there.
  • Don’t be a financial fatalist, and switch to more positive mantras.
  • Get your finances and body in shape. The discipline associated with regular exercising translates to managing your money well.
  • Appreciate what you have now, instead of being a consumerist.
  • Get a Money Buddy. Studies indicate people pick up good habits from friends with similar traits.

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How to Amp Up Your Earning Potential

How to Amp Up Your Earning Potential
  • When negotiating a salary, get the company to name figures first, otherwise you can’t know if you’re lowballing or highballing. 
  • Try to negotiate more than just your salary. Work hours, official title, parental leave, vacation time, and which projects you’ll work on could all be negotiable.
  • Assume you qualify for unemployment and learn its rules. Many do qualify but are unaware.
  • When negotiating salary emphasize the value you bring to the company as employers don’t care about your dreams but do about keeping a good employee. 

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How to Keep Debt at Bay

How to Keep Debt at Bay
  • Paying off the little debts can give you confidence to tackle larger ones. It’s recommended to focus on debts with the higher interest rates, but sometimes a moral boost is worth it.
  • Don’t cosign loans. If the borrower misses a payment, your credit score plunges and the lender can charge you.
  • Every student should fill out the FAFSA; many miss out grants that don’t need to be paid back because they are not filling out the forms.
  • Choose federal student loans over private loans, they have flexible payment terms and often better interest rates.
  • Investigate repayment options for federal student loan payments. 
  • Opt for mortgage payments below 28% of your monthly income. That’s a general rule of thumb on how much you can afford.

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How to Shop Smart

How to Shop Smart
  • Evaluate purchases by cost per use. Higher cost products may last longer, but go unconsidered because of their initial price.
  • Spend on experiences, not things, as they give you more happiness for your investment.
  • Shop solo to avoid buying unnecessary things due to social influence.
  • Spend on the real you, not the person you want to be.
  • Ditch the overdraft protection as it often trips people into overspending.

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How to Save Right for Retirement

How to Save Right for Retirement
  • Start Saving ASAP. Money you put in your retirement fund now will have more time to grow through compound growth.
  • Avoid cashing out your retirement account early as it prevents your money from being invested and leads to penalties and tax bills.
  • Contribute money so your employer can match it if you have a 401(k)
  • Invest your raise in your retirement savings. Up your automatic transfer to savings, and increase your retirement contributions. 

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How To Best Build And Track Your Credit

How To Best Build And Track Your Credit
  • Reviewing your credit report and your credit score regularly can save you money
  • Keep your credit use below 30% of your total available credit, as it can ding your credit score. You calculate it by dividing the total amount on all of your credit cards by your total available credit.
  • If you have bad credit, get a secured credit card. It helps build credit like a regular card but won’t let you overspend. And you don’t need good credit to get one.

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How to Get Properly Insured

How to Get Properly Insured
  • Get more life insurance on top of your company’s policy, as it is often far too little.
  • Get renters insurance and be covered from robberies, vandalism, natural disasters, and even things like the medical bills of people who get hurt at your place, damages you cause at someone else’s home, rent if you have to stay somewhere else because of damage done to your place.

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How to Prepare for Rainy (Financial) Days

How to Prepare for Rainy (Financial) Days
  • Make savings part of your monthly budget. 
  • Keep your savings out of your checking account, as it may prevent you from spending it.
  • Open a savings account at a different bank than where you have your checking account so it won’t be too easy transferring between them.
  • Direct deposit to your savings account so only the money you want to spend goes to your checking account and your savings are preserved as they stay out of your mind.
  • Consider switching to a credit union; they could be the place to go for better customer service, kinder loans, and better interest rates on your savings accounts.
  • Only use your emergency savings account if you’ve lost your job, have a medical emergency, a car break, emergency home expenses (like a leaky roof), or you need to travel to a funeral.
  • Think about investing if you have more than six months’ savings in your emergency account (nine months if you’re self-employed), and you have enough socked away for your short-term financial goals.

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How to Approach Investing

How to Approach Investing
  • Pay attention to the fees you pay in your funds, also called expense ratios, as they can eat into your returns. It’s generally recommended to stick with low-cost index funds.
  • Rebalance your portfolio once a year. You need to take a look at your brokerage account every once in a while, to make sure that your investment allocations still match your greater investing goals.

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The Golden Rules of Personal Finance

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Regular monthly bills

Regular monthly bills

The bulk of your budget is made up of necessities like rent, phone and internet bills, insurance, etc. If you can lower your monthly expenses, you can save a lot for unplanned events.

Debt when you're on a tight budget

There are a couple of paths you can take to pay off your high-interest debt when you're on a tight budget.

  • The snowball method. For those who need to see progress, pay off the lowest balance first. You'll feel inspired to keep going.
  • The avalanche method. Choose the debt with the highest interest rate to pay off first. This may require larger monthly payments and will take longer to see progress, but you will save the most money in the long run.
  • If you need to prioritize your credit score, focus on paying down your credit cards first. Paying the ones you are near to maxing out will improve your score quickly by a few points.
  • Set up payment plans, even if you can only afford a few dollars at a time. That way, your lenders can see you're paying something.

Incorporate unplanned entertainment in your budget

Financial professionals will advise you to cut out expensive nights out. In truth, you will have night's out, even when you're dirt poor.

To incorporate unplanned entertainment, set aside an amount each month. Be realistic. You can open another savings account for fun spending or you can use cash only.

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Self Control And Laziness

Will power and self-control are like a muscle that can be strengthened. The more we practice self-control, the better we become in implementing the same.

Our laziness too plays a big part in hurting our wallets, like forgetting to pay bills that incur late fees, or overspending on credit cards and paying for subscriptions that are not in use.

Brain On Autopilot: Tiny Habits That Work

Automatic behaviours trigger better decisions and make the entire process seamless. One thing compliments the other, and good habits give space to other good habits.

Example: When a person is dressed up nicely, they tend to work harder.