Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Personal finance tips to help you get back on track

If you have been struggling with money or having debt problems, it can be hard to figure out how to get your personal finances back on track. Here are a few tips to get you started:

If you have a bit of spare money every month, save it. Work out how much you can realistically spare and arrange for that amount to automatically go into a savings account as soon as you get paid. That way you won't miss it as much. Just make sure you don't commit yourself to anything too ambitious and unrealistic.

Don't save
Conversely, if you are still in debt, it's beneficial to pay as much towards these as possible. This is because debts usually grow faster than savings; often much faster due to the higher interest rates charged on debts. It is therefore preferable to try and get these out of the way before you think about creating savings.

Sleep on it
Getting your finances back on track essentially revolves around only spending as much as you absolutely have to. Pay for your mortgage, rent, bills, food, etc., and try to put the rest towards any debts you may owe, or into a savings account. So if you find yourself wanting to buy something you don't strictly need, sleep on it. This will help you decide whether it's really worth it.

Make a budget
Knowing how much you receive every month, and how much you spend, can help you understand and amend your spending habits. A good budget can show you where most of your money goes, and areas you can cut down on. If you don't know how to create a budget, there are many tools online that can help you. There are also bank accounts available that manage your essential and disposable income, helping you ensure you don't chip into your bill money by accident.

It can help to look out for money saving tips wherever you can to avoid getting into debt. Think Money could be a good place to start

Debt solutions (UK)
If you feel like your unsecured debts have got out of hand, you may want to consider a debt solution. There are many debt solutions available, such as debt management, debt consolidation, IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements) and DROs (Debt Relief Orders). Facing your debt can be intimidating, but talking to a professional can help you decide what step to take next, and whether you need professional debt help or not. It's also a good way to find out the positive and negative impact this could have on you.

Debt solutions (Australia & US)
Plenty of US bloggers cite Dave Ramsay as a good place to start in terms of dealing with debts. As for Australians, you can visit the link above as a place to start learning about how to control, manage and pay down your debts.

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