Long term financial success can be a bit confusing and frustrating. Stocks, bonds, and IRAs seem to be a foreign language to you. You can escape debt and make money moves to set yourself up with a better financial plan. Be proactive and take control of your money with some simple rules to managing your money.
1. Automate your bill payments
With the stress and obligations of daily life, it can be challenging to tackle your monthly bills — even if paying your bills on time is vital for your financial health. Paying on time ensures your credit score will remain in stellar standing. Not paying on time could make your credit score drop and put you at risk for higher interest rates on loans.
Since the internet found its way into most of our homes, money making moves to make now have never been so easy, and automating the bill-paying process with online banking will save you time and money. The bills will be paid directly from your checking account, which will save you a stamp and ensure that at least the minimum payment is made to avoid fees.
2. Cancel ongoing memberships
Ongoing memberships are extremely convenient because they usually automatically bill your credit card each month, relieving you of the responsibility. Often these ongoing memberships are for services you need, such as roadside assistance or cellular phone service. While these are luxuries, they are also a matter of safety.
On the other hand, there are ongoing services that you might be able to do without. These include such things as gym memberships, movie rental services and magazine subscriptions. There are other viable options, such as working out at home or outside and visiting the library for movies, books and magazines. While these options may be less appealing, they are money moves to make now if you’re looking to cut costs and see an immediate change in your savings account.
3. Cut up department store credit cards
Building your credit score is a long-term financial objective, but there are money moves to make now that will immediately help your credit rating. While canceling old credit cards is usually a bad idea, there are some exceptions. Old credit cards provide credit history, which is good for your credit report, so keep all of your major credit cards. What you should do, however, is cancel and cut up your credit cards that are issued from a particular store, such as those from a home improvement or department store. These cards have high interest rates and fees and they can only be used at one location.
4. Lower your credit card interest rate
Paying off a large credit card debt takes months, if not years. While setting up a payment schedule is a good idea, you won’t see results for a long time. There are, however, money moves to make now that will yield results in a matter of minutes if you carry a balance on your credit card.
First, check your credit report and score to see how you are doing. If you have been making payments on time, your credit score has probably improved and you should call your credit card company to see if they will lower your interest rate. Believe it or not, they might be able to work something out because they want your business.
5. Automate your monthly savings
Nobody likes taking a portion of their paycheck each week and putting it into savings. In fact, many people don’t save because there isn’t enough left at the end of the month. And once other bills come up, it can be very hard to keep a balance in your savings while you pay the bills at the same time.
There is, however, something you can do today that will smooth over the process. It’s called paying yourself first. Most banks will let you set up an automatic transfer from your checking account into your savings account. This way you won’t even have to think about saving because it will be just another one of your monthly “bills.” The money won’t be missed and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your savings will bulk up. All money moves should be so easy.