Read these 33 Finances Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Thrifty tips and hundreds of other topics.
At the end of the day, put all of your change away - in a bank, dish, basket - whatever. Then, every so often wrap it up and take it to the bank - you'll be surprised to see how quickly it can add up. TIP - Don't let your bank count the change for you in a change machine - they're not as good at counting as the human!
Before you start looking at homes, you might want to start talking to different institutions about mortgages first - especially if you're a first-time home-buyer. You'd be surprised at how different institutions handle mortgages. Make sure you find one that's comfortable for you. Then, once you've got an idea of what you can afford, start looking for homes within your price range.
When you buy checks, you should never buy them through your bank, because they charge a lot more than other places. There are many companies that you can order your checks, get any print/design/style you want, and get them mailed directly to your front door. Check out Checks Unlimited at http://tinyurl.com/6cm8 for some great savings and styles. They also offer a special design for 9/11, where procedes go to a 9/11 fund.
Call your credit card company and ask them if they will lower your interest rate. If they tell you no, ask to speak to a manager. Tell them that you just received a notice that you were pre-approved for a different credit card with a much lower interest rate. mention that you like their card, but unless they can lower the interest rate, you will have no choice but to switch. This usually gets their attention because they would rather get less money out of your interest rates than no money at all from you.
Destroy carbons and incorrect charge slips. Paper shredders are not just for offices any more! You can get an affordable shredder for home use. Better yet, tear the receipt in half so that part of your account number is on one half and the rest is on the other half. Throw each piece in a different trash can for added security.
If you have credit card debts, loans, etc., select the one debt with the highest interest rate as your target for elimination. On the other debts, pay the minimum due and pay as much as you possibly can on the high-interest debt. You will pay off your debts quicker and pay less in finance charges.
Most stay-at-home moms find it difficult not receiving a paycheck at the end of the week. To compensate, write yourself a check for the amount of money that you save on every purchase. For instance, if you save 20% off a $100 shopping trip, write yourself a check for $20. You can keep this in your own savings account for whatever reason you want. Don't want to write out too many checks? Then keep a tally going and write a check every other week or once a month. Whichever works best for you.
A great way to help you avoid late fees is to be organized. Check out this link to see a great bill organizer. http://tinyurl.com/q6x
You can also use it for birthday and anniversary cards, so you don't forget those either. This is a tiny investment in money and space to help you save money by avoiding late fees.
Credit card companies do make billing errors. I keep all of my receipts together and check them against my credit card statements. If there are any missing receipts, I investigate and then report billing errors immediately. Also check to make sure they aren't charging you fees for things that you don't want/need (i.e. credit card insurance, etc.).
Unless you're a financial wiz, I suggest getting a financial planner to assist you with your investing. Shop around to find one that you feel comfortable with, tell them everything about what you have and what you want to do, and then let them go over the options. If you're not comfortable with a particular option, don't do it until you've asked around or researched it. It's your money, so feel comfortable about what you do with it.
Experian is one of the three biggest credit agencies. You can call them once a year at 1-888-397-3742, or visit their website at http://tinyurl.com/64sp to request a free copy of your credit report. You are also allowed a free copy of your credit report if you are turned down for credit, and have it in writing.
Equifax is one of the three biggest credit agencies. You can call them once a year at 1-800-525-6285, or visit their website at http://tinyurl.com/129l to request a free copy of your credit report. You are also allowed a free copy of your credit report if you are turned down for credit, and have it in writing.
When choosing a credit card, consider and compare all terms, including the following, before you select a card: Annual Percentage Rate (APR), Free or Grace Period, Fees and Charges, Credit Card Insurance. If you pay bills in full each month, the size of the annual fee or other fees will be more important. If you carry a balance, the APR and the method used to figure your balance are key.
Ask for a debit card that must be used with a PIN to make it harder for thieves to use your lost or stolen cards or account numbers. Keep your PIN a secret. Don't write your PIN on the card or on a slip of paper kept with your card. A good idea is to add a phony name and phone number in your purse phone book and refer to that "phone number" when you need it.
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TransUnion is one of the three biggest credit agencies. You can call them once a year at 1-800-680-7289, or visit their website at www.transunion.com to request a free copy of your credit report. You are also allowed a free copy of your credit report if you are turned down for credit, and have it in writing.
"ACCC is a nationally recognized consumer credit non-profit organization, helping people regain financial control through debt consolidation and credit counseling."
They will help you save up to 50% on interest and monthly payments, payoff your credit card debt and avoid the 10 year bankruptcy penalty on your credit rating. They will also negotiate with your credit card companies to: lower/eliminate late payment penalties, lower/eliminate future interest and protect your credit rating.
Did you know that many women are not well prepared for handling personal finance? Well, according to this article it explains why, as well as what to do about it. http://www.pioneerthinking.com/junecleaver.html
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Photocopy the front and back of each of your credit cards. This way, if they are ever lost or stolen, you have the correct customer service number to call to get things taken care of as soon as possible. You can also keep these copies handy for online purchases - so you don't need to go to your wallet every time you make a purchase.
Don't carry your social security card with you, or use your social security number as your driver's license. If your wallet gets stolen, a thief could use this information to set up dummy bank accounts, obtain credit cards and go on a shopping spree, all under your name - Ouch!
If you have a tendency to charge your cards up to the limit, it goes without saying that you should try to recondition yourself so that you can stop using credit cards altogether or at the very least pay them off each month. If you want to make sure that you don't max out again, you can ask your credit card company to lower your credit line. You can also apply for a card where you have to pay your balance off every month, and that will help deter you from overspending.
When you get credit cards in the mail, sign them immediately so that no one can forge your signature. Some people will write in the signature line "See ID" so that the clerk needs to check their driver's license. They do it as a safeguard so that if their credit card gets lost or stolen, it will be harder for it to get mis-used.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|