After writing about personal finance for years, I always encounter things people shouldn’t do with their money: Running up huge bills, using stock brokers as “financial consultants” and not saving money for retirement.
It’s not difficult to manage your money in prudent way. There are myriad apps that take the stress out of it. Nerdwallet even rates the best ones.
All too often people have the wrong ideas about money. It’s not complicated: Save as much as you can and live within your means. Here’s a list of 10 things you can do I’ve found that works and some additional ideas from personalfinanceguru:
- Pay Down Killer Debt: High-interest debt can erode your savings, so focus on repaying it first. That means paying off your credit cards within monthly grace periods.
- Invest in Your Education: Sometimes spending on personal development can yield higher returns than saving. Can you get a certificate or master’s degree? Better yet, will your employer pay for it? There’s no such thing as too much education.
- Save on Necessities, Splurge on Experiences: Allocate resources for memorable experiences that enrich your life. Plan your travel when few people are traveling. You’ll get better deals.
- Don't be Stingy on Insurance: Cutting corners on insurance can cost you dearly in the long run. Make sure you have enough coverage to replace what you need.
- Save for Emergencies: Weigh the benefits of liquidity against the opportunity cost of higher returns. Always have a rainy day fund. It needn’t have a high yield. Find the best rates online.
- Say No to Extended Warranties: They often cost more than the potential savings. They are pure profit for whoever sells them. Spend a little more to buy a higher-quality product with a decent warranty.
- Spend on Quality Products: Invest in durable, high-quality items that save you money over time. See #6.
- Don't Forget Your Buckets: Find a balance between saving for the future and enjoying the present. Always keep three buckets for short-term bills, mid-term (taxes, down payments) and long-term savings (retirement).
- Beware of False Deals: Discounts and sales can lead to impulse buying and overspending. There are a lot of scams out there. Do comparison searches.
- Support Your Local Businesses: Spending at local businesses can help boost the economy and benefit your community. You may even find better prices. I like local thrift shops and bookstores. I know the money goes back into my community.
"While saving money is crucial for long-term financial success, it's important to recognize that there are times when not saving—or even spending—can be the smarter decision,” noted Cody Beecham, CEO of personalfinanceguru.
In the end, the bottom line is always the same. Don’t spend yourself to oblivion and save for short-, mid- and long-term expenses. Keep putting money in your “rainy day fund” and a retirement kitty. Ensure that the money you’re spending provides value to your daily experience and values.
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