2011 wasn’t a banner year for the economy. The stock market had massive swings, unemployment remained high, and the housing market showed only mild signs of recovery.
However, action can bring change for your personal finances. If one of your goals for 2012 is to control your money — instead of letting it control you — here are eight simple (yet effective) actions you can take to build a brighter financial future.
Action 1: Track every penny you spend
You can use online tools or computer software. If you’re not comfortable with technology, use an old-fashioned check register. Continue Reading »
All too often it seems we live in a “succeed or fail” society. Success is good, failure is bad, and in many areas it seems to be an all-or-nothing option. That can be a very destructive mentality, especially as it relates to budgeting.
“I overspent in groceries, I failed at budgeting.”
“I haven’t updated my budget for 2 weeks. I failed at budgeting.”
“I didn’t save enough for that car repair. I was short $100 because I didn’t realize the car would need brakes and tires. I failed at budgeting.”
“I’m going to have to lower my clothing category Continue Reading »
This past year taught us a few financial lessons, not all of them good. Here are some questionable financial trends that appeared in 2011, and how to keep them at bay in 2012:
2011 Trap: Flash sale and daily deal sites became an addiction. By offering a limited amount of merchandise for a limited time, sites such as Groupon and Social Living were like catnip for impulse buyers. They created a sense of urgency via ploys such as displaying a clock ticking down the seconds until a given sale ends. Their goal: to make you feel the deal is Continue Reading »
In honor of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ we present the following 12 financial principles all consumers should be aware of:
Map your financial future. Take time to list your financial goals, along with a realistic plan for achieving them. You can go places you want to go without a roadmap – but seldom on the first try.
Don’t expect something for nothing. Be leery of advertisements, sales people or other sources of financial offers promising anything free. Like non-financial opportunities, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
High returns equal high risks. No one Continue Reading »
Personal credit scores affect many aspects of your life — more than you may think. It’s important to keep your score as high as possible, and most consumers know that paying bills on time and staying well below your credit limits are sure-fire ways to build and maintain good credit. But here are some lesser-known strategies to boost your credit score.
Fix clerical errors: Not only does this apply to your personal data, but also to errors to your financial data. For example, it can make a big difference to your score if your limit on a credit card Continue Reading »
‘Tis the season of shopping and, thus, spending. But what better time to help educate your children on the importance of saving.
Here are some ways to show your children that saving — and giving — can be just as rewarding as getting.
Hand over the spending power. Tired of dictating how your kids spends their money? Give your children control over a weekly “entertainment allowance” and see what happens. Children who are free to spend their money on whatever they want tend to be more thoughtful and less impulsive.
Make dollar decisions tangible. If it’s hard for adults Continue Reading »