Many people often say that they’re doing their best to make as much money as possible. Yet, they still find themselves sweating when it comes to paying the bills each month. Whether you’re a working professional or a recent college graduate, you need to ensure that you’re maximizing your earning capacity. At the same time, you have to make your money work equally hard for you as well.
Financial experts spend a considerable part of their lives understanding the language of money. This is why harnessing their expertise according to your personal situation makes perfect sense. Check out the following personal finance tips that you could employ for saving money.
When You Want to Find the Best Bargains
Kristin Wong at Bankrate recommends couponing to discount shoppers for finding the best bargains. Apps offer bargain hunters the chance to navigate sales, compare prices and earn refunds on some of the items they purchase. All with a simple swipe of their screens!
RedLaser and ShopSavvy enable shoppers to scan an in-store item’s bar code. Thereafter, they provide details on how much that particular item costs at different online stores. They also provide information about whether there are any special deals on the item at stores nearby.
Similarly, Coupon Sherpa offers details on the coupons available from hundreds of retail stores and restaurants. RetailMeNot provides details on the stores nearby that offer deals and coupons. PriceJump provides a feature that lets you know exactly where you could find the best price for a specific product in three categories, such as local stores, Amazon and online.
When You Want to Make the Most of Any Available Senior Discounts
Cameron Huddleston at Kiplinger urges money-savvy seniors to capitalize on the bigger discounts available from them on a variety of goods and services. After all, not all senior discounts are equal.
Recently, the Pew Charitable Trusts conducted a study, wherein they found that certain senior checking accounts cost more than basic accounts, unless the customer happened to maintain a high balance. Similarly, many hotels offer discounts aimed specifically at travelers of the age of 62 years and above. By defaulting to the discounts offered, these individuals could miss the better rates available to them. Ideally, retirees would do well to look for standard discounts that they could pair with senior discounts to maximize their savings.
When You Want to Curb Impulse Buying
Vera Gibbons at MarketWatch cautions people from giving in to the urge to splurge. She recommends going for a walk and examining your feelings toward a specific product in your shopping cart after about 20 minutes. By this time, your emotions would have cooled down and you would be able to think more rationally.
Modern conveniences like mobile payment systems and sites that store your credit card details can be quite dangerous. These conveniences can make it easier for you to purchase things that you can easily do without. Eventually, if you want to save more, you need to identify and eliminate triggers that urge you to spend more. Being aware of your habits can be very useful. For instance, if you know that you shop more when you’re happy or sad, you’ll know when you need to be on your guard.
When You Need to Choose a College Bank Account
Karen Damato at The Wall Street Journal cautions new college students from opting for convenience, when it comes to selecting a college bank account.
Oftentimes, schools enter into exclusive relationships with a specific financial institution. In exchange for handling all the financial business for the school, the financial institution offers several benefits. For instance, many financial institutions offer college IDs, which students can use as debit cards too. But these college accounts come with an assortment of drawbacks too, such as abusive overdraft policies. The financial institutions often charge hefty service fees in exchange for letting their customers use their debit cards even where there are no funds in the account.
To address this, parents and students must read the terms and conditions carefully, when they apply for a college bank account. In particular, they must opt out of any overdraft provisions offered. Above all, they must consider looking at offers from other banks as well.
When You Want to Switch to the Best Credit Card from an Existing One
Hadley Malcolm at USA Today advocates consumers to consider switching from their existing cards to the best ones on offer currently. This is especially so because credit card issuers are clamoring for your business.
In December 2014, a report from credit bureau Equifax revealed that consumer credit card debt reached its zenith in five years because consumers were taking out new cards. According to The Week, a research firm found that credit card issuers increased direct-mail offers by about 12 percent between November and December last year.
Oftentimes, it pays to be loyal to a specific bank or financial institution. However, doing so when there are better products on offer can be counterproductive. Some credit card companies are giving consumers better value on their rewards cards. For instance, some issuers have offered 25 percent more rewards points and frequent-flyer-mile sign-up bonuses. Even if you don’t actually want to make a switch, telling your bank that you’re considering switching your credit card could yield some dividends.
When You Want to Subscribe to a Desired Credit Card
Gerri Detweiler of Credit.com specifies that contrary to what many people believe, great credit cards are not the preserve of people with perfect credit scores.
A casual glance at the best credit cards available will reveal that you need to have a superlative credit history if you plan to score a premium credit card. These cards typically offer a panoply of perks such as sign-up bonuses, attractive rewards programs, lower interest rates, higher credit limits etc. But this does not mean that you cannot score these cards if you don’t belong to the ideal consumer profile.
Utilize an online credit-card comparison tool. Find the best card for yourself. As long as you’re making realistic inquiries, you might have a good chance for securing the card you desire. After all, credit card issuers are in the business of making money. Even if you don’t belong to the ideal consumer category, they have the ability to adjust the risk you present by offering a range of interest rates.
When You Want Your Kids to Imbibe the Saving Habit
Bill Bischoff at MarketWatch exhorts parents to get their kids to invest their summer earnings in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). This is because even if your kids make modest contributions today, they could end up with substantial savings over the years.
Teenagers might not find the idea of opening an IRA for their summer earnings appealing. Doing so could mean that they only get to access their savings after a few decades. However, given how expensive things are becoming, having a substantial savings to back you can be a useful advantage to have.
For opening an IRA, they need an earned income and an investment of $1,000 a year for the next three years. According to The Week, assuming an annual return of six percent, your kids could net as much as $40,000 by 2060. This does not include the lifelong lesson they would learn of acquiring the saving habit.