It is very easy for recently independent college students to spend too much money on fun entertainment activities, like visiting clubs and nightspots. Avoid any debts by properly managing your finances.
Ask your accountant or other tax professional about deductions and tax credits you qualify for when doing remodeling on your home. Some things might bright you a bigger return while others won’t yield you any tax savings at all. Sometimes something as simple as the appliances you choose, can get you another tax credit.
Make sure that you are collecting all of the tax credits to which you are entitled. Look out for the following tax credits: Child Care Credit, Child Tax Credit, Lifetime Learning Credit, Earned Income Credit and Hope Scholarship Credit. Visit the IRS’s website for a complete list of tax credits that you may be eligible for.
Your car, as well as your home, are the two biggest purchases that you will make. Payments and interest on these things will be the thing you spend the most on every month. Pay them off quicker by adding an extra payment each year or using your tax refunds to pay down the balance.
Do not take on more debt than you can actually handle. Just because you qualify for the loan for the top of the line model of the car you want doesn’t mean you should take it. Try to keep your debts low and reasonable. An ability to get a loan doesn’t mean you’ll have the ability to pay it.
Set up an automatic overdraft payment to your checking account from a savings account or line of credit. Many credit unions and banks do not charge for this service, but even if it costs a little it still beats bouncing a check or having an electronic payment returned if you lose track of your balance.
If you want to save money, then look hard at your current spending patterns. It is easy to theoretically “wish” you could save money, but actually doing it requires some self-discipline and a little detective work. For one month, write down all of your expenses in a notebook. Commit to writing down everything, such as, morning coffee, taxi fare or pizza delivery for the kids. The more accurate and specific you are, then the better understanding you will get for where your money is really going. Knowledge is power! Scrutinize your log at the end of the month to find the areas you can cut back on and bank the savings. Small changes add up to big dollars over time, but you have to make the effort.
If you are having trouble with money, apply for a credit card at your local bank. Credit cards are very valuable as they allow you additional time to pay back the money that you owe and can go a long way in establishing a firm credit score for benefits in the future.
After you finish a meal with your family, do not throw away the leftovers. Instead, wrap these up and use this food as part of a meal the next day or as a snack during the night. Conserving every piece of food is very important in reducing your grocery costs each month.
If you are planning to adopt a child, do it this year. The government has created a larger tax break for those people who choose to adopt. It is not just for special cases, but all adoptions. This tax break can even be refunded if you don’t owe any taxes.
Make sure that you are only paying for the amount of home insurance you need. You cannot file a claim for more than the value of your house and it’s contents, so having high insurance coverage could mean you’re paying for something you can’t even use. Do an inventory of your house and get a rough estimate of what you would claim, then speak to your insurance agent to make sure that your coverage matches that amount.
To help yourself get in the habit of saving, ask your bank to put a portion of direct deposits into your savings account. Having this done automatically will allow you to save without giving it much thought. As you get more used to saving, you can raise the amount placed in your savings account.
In an effort to improve your finances, compare Savings account and CD rates online. In the current low-interest rate environment, it’s more important that ever to find the best possible yields on deposit accounts. Chances are that by searching online, you can find a better interest rate than your local bank is offering, making the most of your emergency fund or other savings.
One of the smartest things you can do to stay in control of your finances is to lay out exactly what you need to purchase, and the amount of money you have budgeted for each item. Stick to to the budget. Remember what you’ve learned here so you don’t ever have to deal with debt collectors.