The Top Personal Finance Ideas You Should Implement

Here is a list of the top personal finance ideas that we recommend you go over and implement in your life to help grow your financial success!

Cutback on Credit Card Usage

Tuck the credit card away and pay using debit or cash.  Yes, cash.  It’s that paper and coin stuff in your wallet or purse.  Become a friend again with George, Abe, and Andrew.  If you aren’t a cash-carrying fan, use your bank debit card.  You’ll be less likely to spend the extra $5-$50 if you know it’s coming directly out of your bank account.

Make a Budget

Strange as it may seem, many people don’t know where their money goes each month.  If this happens to be you… it’s as easy as a notebook and a pen.  Write down what you spend every day for a month.  Track every penny from the electric bill to tipping the parking attendant.  Once you know where you spend, you can start making adjustments.  Be realistic and be ready to cut things – even if it’s for a month – to see if you really miss it.  There are amazing apps available to help you with this also, like Personal Capital and Mint!

Make a Commitment to Know and Improve Your Credit Score

If you don’t know what your credit score is, you need to.  It’s like knowing your weight.  If you don’t know what the number is and set a goal, how will you know when you get there?  Find your credit score using sites such as MyFico which is free and provides you with a full credit report.  Improving your credit score by paying bills on time and lowering debt will save you money in the long-run by being rewarded with lower interest rates.  Tip: Mark your calendar to order a credit report every six months to track your progress.

Pay More Than the Minimum

Yep.  If you are only making the minimum payment on accounts, not only are you paying more in interest but you aren’t taking the opportunity to improve your credit score.  Try and pay an extra $10-$15 on credit cards and if you are extremely disciplined, try and pay an extra 5-10% on your mortgage payment (if not each month, every few months).  Over time these extra few dollars can save you hundreds if not thousands in interest.

Create a Snowball Debt Payment Plan

If you don’t know what a snowball debt payment plan is, read past entries to get started.  It’s quite simple to do and will provide motivation and a great deal of satisfaction in addition to saving you – – – – money!  More for you, less for the credit card company.

Create “Found Money” Situations

Maybe it’s participating in a few focus groups over the year or cleaning out the garage and selling items on Craigslist or eBay.  Maybe it’s finding a job on the weekend or a freelance opportunity.  Make 2009 the time to earn some extra income to apply to your snowball debt plan.

Contribute the Maximum to Retirement Plans

The stock market is in the tank but we know it will come back so why not be buying when stocks are on sale?  Invest in yourself and put the maximum you can towards retirement.  If your company has a 401(k) contribution match – take advantage of the free money.  Don’t forget to contribute to your IRA too!

Start an Automatic Savings Plan

Even if it’s $25 a paycheck, put it aside in an ING savings account.  Having it set aside for emergencies will provide a great deal of comfort.

Have an Emergency Fund

Create and have an emergency fund in case a financial problem arises in your life that you are not ready for!  If for some reason you do not have one, Tax Refund Loans.org is always there to support you during this financial emergency!

Get Smart About Your Personal Finances

Don’t assume you know everything or stick your head in the sand trying to hide from it.  Face your fear in the comfort of your own chair or in the library.  Read a few self-help personal finance books.  You will learn a few tips along the way and stay disciplined.  I’ve listed a few books below to help get you started.