40 Tips Financial Poster

by Kira Yates

Take Charge of Your Life

The most efficient way to build a good financial portfolio is by having a plan for your money. Do this using a process called "financial planning," which entails these three steps:

1. Define your financial goals.

2. Make plans to reach your goals.

3. Take action until your goals become a reality.

The chart below shows a table to achieve saving goals.

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Get Organized

Too many people get caught up in disorganization and eventually forget whatever sort of financial budget they are trying to have, leading to unwise financial decisions. One way to combat this is simply by keeping organized. Do this by trying to file any and important paperwork, so it will be easier to retrieve it when needed, preventing late bills and helping to prevent large financial mistakes and miscalculations.

To keep organized, try to separate important documents into categories, so you don't get completely overrun in paperwork. Categories could include:

Bill Payments

Checking Accounts

Savings and Investments


Financial Aid


Loan and Credit Records

Receipts and Warranties


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Protect Your Personal Information

Protecting your personal information is fairly simple: don't give it out. Make sure you do not give out personal account numbers, Social Security Numbers, or any other sort of information to an individual or organization unless you are clear that they are both credible and that you are aware of why they need your information. Falling for scams can result in a massive amount of credit and financial portfolio damage, and it is absolutely necessary to avoid it. Reviewing credit card statements, shredding old receipts and other documents with personal information, and avoid giving out credit card numbers online are all ways to avert theft. Remember, if you do fall victim to identity theft, report it to the police immediately.

Don't Bounce Checks

Bouncing checks can severely damage credit history, and can result in many unwanted fees from the bank, and if the behavior continues, banks can refuse you their services in the future. Some banks offer overdraft fees on bounced checks, but these come with high interest. Some ways to make sure that you do not bounce a check are:

  • Record every check that you write in a checkbook. That way, you will know how much money you have available at all times.
  • Don't trust ATM balances, as they may not have all your funds processed an up to date.
  • Compare bank statements to yours to ensure that each are accurate.
  • Keep all records safe and notify your bank if you suspect that your checking account is unsafe.

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Use Loans as a Last Resort

Although loans can help you pay for expensive things, keep in mind that you will have to pay the loan and interest back in the long run. These can become expensive monthly payments. Although loans are beneficial to help you attain "big purchases," do not think of them as "free money." In terms of college loans, look for scholarships and grants instead. Scholarships do not have to be paid back to anyone, and are therefore much more beneficial to the average person than a loan.

Take Time now to Prepare for Your Career

Finding jobs that are in your field, or at lest the field that you want to be in, can help your career in the long run. By using many of the resources found at your college or in your community, you can often attain a job that is in your desired area and ultimately prepare yourself your career in the long run. Ways to prepare for your career, such as building a resume, attending career fairs and interviews, as well as taking advantage of your school's career center, are all beneficial resources in the advancement of your career.

Set Ground Rules Regarding Money

This step is especially important when you have an apartment with a roommate. Be extremely clear as to who is going to pay for what, or how you will pay for things together. By setting these ground rules that you both agree on, it is much more difficult for one roommate to take advantage of another. Also, by setting up who will pay for what, you are less likely to spend money frivolously. The best way to organize this is by having a roommate agreement, stating what each person must pay for. By signing said roommate agreement, both roommates are bound to their half of the deal.

Create a Budget and Stick to it

This is arguably the most important financial tip that one can use at any age. Creating a budget is vital for economic stability, as it outlines all expenses and costs that you should encounter each month. By having a budget, it will prevent you from making unwise financial decisions.

Some tips when creating a budget:

  • Include EVERYTHING, or else it will not be accurate
  • Stick to your budget, there is no point in making one if you don't abide by it.

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Build Good Credit

To build good credit, you must pay your bills on time and repay your loans. It is really that simple. By being able to pay your bills and loans on time, you will have a good credit score. This good credit score will allow you to take out loans on "big purchases" in the future when you want to buy a car, house, or any other item that costs a lot of money.

Compare the Cost of an Apartment with a Dorm

Depending on where you go to college, it can be beneficial to live on or off campus. The best way to determine the cheapest lifestyle is by directly comparing the costs. Look at the cost of rent v. room, food v. board, and see exactly what your costs come out to. In some areas, it may be much cheaper to live off campus, but in colleges in large cities, living on campus may be your best bet.

The table below shows a contrast between dorm life and apartment life:

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Make School Your Fist Job

Don't let working get in the way of school, as a college education will take you farther in the long run. Although working will help pay for school, more benefit will be gained from actually going to school will ultimately help you more.

One more thing to keep in mind: if you are going to get a job, go to your financial aid office and ask if that will interfere with your financial aid package.

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Separate Needs from Wants

This is a very important aspect in being financially stable. Sometimes, it is easy to consider things that we use often as "needs," when it is not actually sometime that we truly, for lack of a batter word, need. There are some things that we do need, however, so do not write off everything that is not the basic minimum. For instance, a cellphone in this day and age could probably be considered as a need, as it is vital for communication in today's world. That being said, a cellphone is a need, but upgrading to an iPhone 5 is a want. Before buying things, it is important to ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

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Pay Yourself First

To save money, you must always "pay yourself first." This means that before you start spending money on anything, from bills to luxury items, you must put money into your savings. It does not have to be much, as it will add up over time. When you pay yourself first, you will not be pressured to buy other things before saving (such as paying for all those bills and other items), and will therefore save before you have the option to spend. This benefits you in the long run, as you will be able to save your money and spend it on something else in the future.

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