40 Tips Poster

By Joseph Dopfer

Tip #1: Get Organized

Making sure that you record all of your expenses and keep those records until you are sure you won't need them. They will help you pay your bills on time and make sure that you do not accumulate debt. These records will also give you a good idea of how much you will be spending either monthly or annually and help you plan and budget for the future accordingly. The main reason people will fall into debt is because they aren't tracking what they have done and this negates that problem entirely.
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Tip #2: Making a budget/Cutting Expenses

Once you are fully organized you can begin to predict how much you will spend month to month and save accordingly. Look at all of your expenses and separate them into needs and wants

  • Sub-tip: Separating needs and wants is very important, if you mistake wants for needs you will end up with a huge budget price and give up on the whole idea. Don't get discouraged, just keep adjusting your budget until it works for you

Make a list of every expense you think you will pay for in the upcoming months. Once that is done look it over again and try to overestimate the costs of your expenses, especially your needs. If your budget doesn't match up with your income, you will unfortunately have to start cutting wants, this is why it is so important to make sure you have separated wants and needs correctly, you could end up overspending.

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Tip #3: Stick to Your Budget

After you have created your budget, you need to stick to it, especially if you don't have a lot of your budget put toward wants, or if your budget is tight. Try to avoid peer pressure, if your friends tell you that they are going to see 8 movies over the weekend, then you shouldn't just assume you have the money to spare. You also need to constantly be checking your account balance to make sure that your spending is going according to plan. If you see that your balance is shrinking faster than you planned for, then there could be a hidden expense that you didn't account for in your budget. That is very important, if you think you are sticking to a budget that you are not, you could get very discouraged very quickly and give up on the idea of planning altogether.
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Tip #4: Prepare for your Future Career

School is a place to learn and dictate whether you will get into a good college or for that matter a good job. If you don't want to live by a tight budget or from paycheck to paycheck then starting early is the way to do that. You can also get an internship at a company that specializes in what you want to end up doing for the rest of your life. This will give you a head start with built -in experience even before college or during college. You can also get an average amount of money you will make and budget early on to make sure that that career is something you want to stick with.
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Tip #5: Be Open with People Around you about your Financial Situation

Let people close to you know about your budgeting and your plans for the future. If they realize that you are trying to save money and be responsible with your wealth then that will decrease peer pressure, make you look more responsible as a person, and maybe inspire those around you to be more conservative with their earnings. Some people might even help you by giving little tips to saving and budgeting and it can further lead you in the right direction.
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Tip #6: Protect your Personal Information

Although the last tip told you to be open about your situation, don't give too much away and don't tell people that you can't trust. Even though it is rare, accidentally compromising your SSN or bank account information could lead to an entire world of trouble even though you were just trying to look out for yourself and others. If something does happen, report the crime immediately.

  • Sub-tip: Shred any paper you have with your information on it after you are done using it. This can decrease the chance that you have your information stolen by a lot.

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Tip #7: Avoid credit card debt

Credit cards will come with "minimum payments" at the end of each month. Never pay the minimum, pay off your credit card in full at the end of each month. If you do not pay it off, it will get a huge interest rate slapped on it and you will be forced to pay a lot more for an item than it's actual retail value, and you will eventually not be able to pay off your debt. Other than the interest rates, credit cards are a great way to earn rewards by using your card and even saving a lot of time on your purchases. But, as always, be weary of how much you are spending because it is easy to go over your budget if you don't need the money with you.
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Tip #8: Building your Credit

Making sure that you pay everything off in a timely manner including loans, credit cards, rent, and things along that line, means that you could boost your credit score. This score determines how high, or hopefully low, your interest rate will be when making a big purchase like a house or car. You could end up saving lots of money just off of lowering your interest rate by increasing your credit score.
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Tip #9: Pay yourself First

Think about your future, saving money and making that your number one priority will benefit you greatly down the road. Saving early by creating an IRA and putting money into it every month, or even just set up a 401k so you don't have to deal with the sorting of money will greatly increase your standard of living when you retire. These savings accounts will also help you if you run into an emergency down the road, although an IRA should be a last resort, it is still there for you to use if it is needed.
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Tip #10: Investments

Once you are financially secure, and only then, can you start to build on your wealth by investing in things like stock markets, bonds, and mutual funds. These tools can be used to increase your wealth tremendously if you use them safely and appropriately. You should put 5% to 10% of your net income towards investments. Although these forms of building wealth can pay off, they are risky and need to be constantly monitored, especially stocks. Only use these if you have the time and money to make worthwhile investments that will pay off in the long run.
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