As the economy remains a bit too dismal for most of our likings, the words cheap and stingy have shed their negative stigmas and are now associated with good business sense. While todayís generation hardly rivals those who survived the Great Depression, new tactics are developing in order to out-swim the financial tidal wave which crashed into the United Stateís economy three years ago. Even as the recession starts to look up, it is likely that some of the skills learned by this generationís economic survivors will stick with us.
Spring is upon us, which means that tax season is coming to a close, and that now is an ideal time to undergo a financial tune-up. Experts have a few basic tips to help any family reach their full financial potential. First and foremost better planning is crucial to your success. None of us like to think that we are susceptible to emergencies, yet we all are. It is important that you set money aside to be relied on in times of emergency, if you do this you are protecting yourself from extreme circumstances. On average, people in the United States are only two missed paychecks away from homelessness. As someone who lives in Berkeley, meaning someone constantly surrounded by homelessness, this is an alarming statistic. In addition to setting aside money for emergencies, financial experts urge people to pay off as much of their debt as quickly as possible. Put the maximum amount of money you can spare towards paying off your debts each month, and youíll avoid high interest rates and negative credit ratings. A good way to do this is to set-up monthly reminders to pay your bill in order to avoid late fees, and as a general rule of thumb donít spend money you donít have. I personally pay off my bill as I spend, meaning if I buy a new pair of shoes, within twenty four hours money has been transferred to cover the cost. When used correctly credit cards are a great way to build good credit, and thus should not be feared but instead used wisely. Lastly it is important that people invest money into long-term savings, because people cannot necessarily rely on Social Security. Without this extra precautionary measure, you may find yourself unable to retire in your old age. While most of these suggestions may seem common sense, if you stick to them you and your family will be much better off. What about some tips and tricks that have developed as a result of this recession?
More and more families are leaning towards a multi-family home in order to help manage their mortgage payments. The additional income brought in by a rental unit on your property can very much help to alleviate your everyday expenses, especially if you found yourself caught up in the real-estate boom and are now facing disproportionately high mortgage payments. Additionally, families are also encouraging their children to more heavily consider the option of community college in order to avoid student debt. This is an especially salient suggestion in the era of university budget-cuts and rises in tuition which currently surround most U.S. college students. As a student of the University of California Berkeley I myself have seen my tuition increase by about 50% in the three years I have been in attendance. More and more community college seems to be the best option out there. Moreover, families are holding on to products longer than they used to. Now if the television becomes a little outdated families are more likely to hold on to it until it breaks, and when a shirt develops a small hole, it is more likely to be stitched than replaced. Of course this reduction in superfluous spending doesnít help boost the the economy but it may pad your pocket. In addition to these tactics, products have developed to help people save money wisely.
Products such as brief case looking lunch boxes have risen heavily in popularity as more and more employees bring their lunch to work in order to save money and increase their overall productivity. Think of these new lunch pales as brown bagging it gone upscale. No longer is it taboo to bring the contents of your fridge to the office. In addition to a rise in home-made lunches, has come a rise in software which boasts to help you manage your finances. Financial software can help you track and control your spending, which ultimately helps you to save more and spend less.
The moral of the story is keep track of what you have and spend it wisely. With the new technology available to us today and the lack of social stigmas, now may be the best possible time for you to become more like your stingy grandmother in your spending habits and less like the rap stars. What steps have you taken to help minimize your overall costs?