If you’ve already made a budget and are looking for ways to streamline your financial activities, then automating your finances may be helpful to you. You can set your bill paying, investing and savings activities to run on their own and significantly reduce the time you spend each month on financial upkeep.
If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, a personal loan or insurance, there’s a file about you: your credit report. It’s full of information including where you live, how you pay your bills, and if you have been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy. Consumer reporting companies sell the information in your report to creditors, insurers, employers and other businesses with a legitimate need for it. They use the information to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or a lease. Having a good credit report means it will be easier for you to get loans and lower interest rates; lower interest rates usually translate into smaller monthly payments.
When a loved one dies, it’s already an emotional time, and receiving an unexpected windfall only complicates things. An inheritance can completely change your lifestyle or at least bolster your financial outlook, but only if you make sound decisions. The most important thing to keep in mind when dealing with an inheritance is to create a plan for its use. Because of the emotional circumstances surrounding your inheritance, it may be best to wait before making any decisions so you have time to process your thoughts and develop a coherent plan.
There’s no way to predict a financial emergency—but you can be prepared for one. While no one expects to be affected by fire, flood, sudden illness, unemployment or any of the other hardships that life may bring, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. By building up your financial reserve and using a variety of financial tools and tactics to protect your assets, you can help lessen the impact of a financial setback.
When most people hear the word “budget,” they think of all of the things they can’t afford to spend money on. A spending plan is a more positive way to look at a budget; rather than focusing on what you can’t buy, with a spending plan you’ll focus on what you can buy. Think of it as a roadmap that unites your spending and saving on the way to meeting your overall financial goals. A spending plan is a way to make your spending purposeful and keep your priorities at the top of mind.
Using loans or credit to buy things is not a new concept. In the 1800s, some people bought food and other basic supplies from the general store using credit—the storekeeper handwrote the buyer’s name on a list, keeping track of the total owed. When the buyer came back into town the following week, he paid off his debt. For some people, buying things on credit and having a little extra time to pay was key to ensuring they could buy items to meet their basic needs.