While making resolutions to improve financial status is something you can do any time of the year, many people find it easier to do so at the start of each new year. The basics are the same regardless of the time you start. Rate Watchers objective is to increase financial literacy and simplify complex information about the lending process. Most families will make a mortgage the largest financial investment they will ever make. Many are not prepared. We believe in empowerment of consumers and that knowledge is the best way to empower borrowers. The Learning Center is a great place to learn the basics and a great place to begin for new borrowers. These are the top tips for getting ahead in your finances.
Get paid what you’re worth and spend less than you earn
Although it may seem simple, many people have difficulty following this first rule. You need to know the value of your job in the market. This can be done by evaluating your skills, productivity, contributions to the company and the current rate for what you do. Even a $1,000 per year underpaid can have a major impact on your work life.
You will never be successful, no matter how much you are paid. It’s often easier to spend less than to earn more. A little effort in cost-cutting can lead to savings in many areas. It doesn’t always mean making huge sacrifices.
Stick to your budget
Budgeting is an important step in financial planning. Budgeting is an important step in financial planning. Without it, you won’t know where your money is going. If you don’t have a budget, how can you plan your spending and savings goals? No matter how much you earn, you need to create a budget.
Repay Credit Card Debt
The number one barrier to financial success is credit card debt. These little bits of plastic can be so convenient that we forget it’s real money when we use them to make purchases, big or small. Despite our best intentions to pay off the balance quickly, the truth is that we end up paying much more than we would if we used cash.
Save with a Savings plan
It’s a saying you have heard before: Pay yourself first. You’ll have trouble saving money or investing if you wait to meet all your financial obligations. Before you pay your bills, set aside at least 5% of your monthly salary to save. You can even have money taken from your paycheck and transferred to a separate account.
Maximize Your Employment Benefits
Employer benefits such as a 401k plan, flexible spending accounts and medical and dental insurance are valuable. Maximize your benefits and take advantage of those that save you money, such as reducing taxes or other out-of-pocket costs.
Check Your Insurance Coverages
Many people are tempted to pay too much for life or disability insurance. This could be done by buying whole-life policies, adding them to their car loans, or purchasing whole-life policies when term life makes more sense. It is important to have enough insurance to cover your dependents as well as your income in case of disability or death.
Keep Good Records
You may not be able to claim all of your income tax credits and deductions if you don’t keep detailed records. You can set up a system right away and continue to use it throughout the year. It’s easier than trying to find everything in tax time only to forget items that could have saved money.