Everyone’s talking about the economy, and seeking financial advice left and right in order to to cut back and keep up with what seems to be a downward spiral of financial security. But that’s just the problem, especially with us lovers for shopping. Financial security has trained us to spend spend spend without thinking about the future. So now that the economy threatens financial comfort, it’s hard for people to get adjusted to cutting back.
So what do we do? Well apparently there’s not much you can invest in safely any more because we all know how that’s going for people. Savings accounts and Certificates of Deposits have such a low interest rate, that it takes years upon years for you to actually benefit from saving up. And without guidance any of that stuff can seem overwhelming to even think about. But there are some relatively sound investments that you can make.
So start with what you have; what you can control, experts say. Learn some simple self-control techniques, and those alone will help to secure a better future at the time of retirement. Such as, you may ask?
- Pay cash – Many retail stores will suck you in with the 10 percent discount incentives if you sign up and pay for what you buy with their credit card. But by the time you factor in the interest rate of that credit card, you’re actually losing a ton more money. Pay cash, and try not to buy novelties unless you know you can pay for them in cash right away, or unless you know you can pay off whatever you charge within the month.
- Do it yourself – My brother’s going to come over and show me how to change my own oil as soon as it gets really warm out. That’ll save me about 30 bucks every few months. My husband is having his friend help him remodel our basement, and he insists on cooking at home rather than going out to eat. Clean your own car rather than spending money at a car wash, etc. Doing things yourself rather than paying for a service will save you a ton of money.
- Do without – Analyze your needs and your wants, and start cutting off spending from things you don’t really need. By all means enjoy life and treat yourself every once in a while, but if you can tell that you’ve made splurging on a cute pair of shoes a constant habit, start trying to wean yourself.
- Budget – A good practice of keeping you on task is to create a spending money budget. Every month, you make a list of all of your bills. Make sure you put money aside to pay them all, then whatever is left you assign it different tasks. Like “savings money,” “dog food money,” “grocery money,” “spending money,” etc. Then take whatever money you plan on actually spending and take it out in cash. That way, you know exactly how much you have, and don’t risk over withdrawing.
- Rainy day jar – Have a small emergency fund savings account. That way, when, say, your car breaks down, you’re not charging this and that on a high-interest credit card because you are panicked. Or when the roof starts leaking, you’re not dipping into your retirement fund and then getting penalized for it at tax time. Have some money saved up just for that.
- Buy used – Electronic goods, cars, hardware, etc. all go down in value over time, so when you buy them new, you’re only going to lose money starting from the day you buy them. So cut your losses, and buy used. Except for clothes – if you buy new clothes off season, you can save a ton of money, and used clothes are usually overpriced.
- Be prepared – Another way to protect yourself from going into debt, is by getting disability insurance. You never know when you’re going to be out because of a health issue. What would you do? Charge all your expenses? Nope. You’re going to have disability insurance.
- Start young – The sooner you start a secure retirement fund, the more it’ll grow. You definitely want to talk to a financial adviser about what your best option is as soon as you can.
- Don’t pay sticker price – Did I just sound liek a car salesman? But no really. The price a store sets for an item, is most of the time negotiable. Don’t just accept it. Price match, offer competitor’s coupons, search for coupons online for things you want to buy, etc. I can’t tell you how much money Michael saved us by doing that. We never buy any big ticket items without price-matching and using a coupons.
- Don’t be dooped – Listen to your gut feeling when you have buyer’s remorse, and don’t let trends, society, salesmen, etc. convince you you have to buy something. You’re not obligated to do any thing you don’t wanna do. Keep all receipts and packages and return return return if you change your minds, you’re not going to use something, or if it fails you withing the first three months – heck even a year. Don’t feel bad, and don’t get lazy. It’s your money – you have the right to get quality stuff for it.
These are just a few financial advice tips that I picked up from listening to Dave Ramsey’s CD collections, talking to my finance-savvy brother, and talking to representatives from finance service companies such as Primerica. I consulted with Primerica rep. Kad Favorite from the Pittsburgh area, and se was great. And who can forget Susie Orman?
Please, if you have some sound financial advice to offer, feel free to chime in! I would say feel free to ask questions, but by all means I am not a finance service expert. Your bank will ususally offer free consultations, and I know companies like Primerica will come to your home and help you set up a plan. You just need to seek out the right resources!