With the current state of the economy, many of us it seems are working harder and still falling behind. There are a few people though who aren’t struggling. What are they doing so different? I’ll fill you in and give you some tips that can have you sitting pretty before January 1st of 2012. You’re not going to win the lottery. You’re not going to hit the jackpot in Vegas. You can do it with your current income. I’ll show you how.
Credit Cards Are Evil
Credit cards are the essence of all that is evil. It’s true. Here’s a scenario. You don’t make a lot of money but you’re pretty smart with the money you make, you apply for a credit card, they approve you and give you a credit limit of $1500.00 USD. That’s perfect for you, it keeps you from digging yourself deep in debt. You make all of your payments on time month after month. Most of the time, you pay off the balance just to get it out of the way. A year goes by and just because you’re such a good customer, the credit card company doubles your credit limit from $1500.00 to $3000.00 USD. You know what that translates to? You used to have just a small shovel to dig yourself in a hole. They just gave you a backhoe to dig yourself into a a bigger and deeper hole. Now you may be the type to not use all of that up and keep from digging yourself deeper in debt. However, the average Joe isn’t like that at all. Most people will just spend more money. It’s simple really, the more money that most people have, the more money they will spend. Cut up those credit cards, pay them off, and don’t apply for any more credit cards.
Smart Car Loans
Most new cars are financed for about 72 months. The sad thing about that by the time 36 months go by, the pay off on that car will likely be more than it’s worth. Motor vehicles sink in value like a stone in the ocean. If you’re in the market for a new car, consider buying a car that’s about two years old with low mileage. In two years, all the bugs are usually worked out of it and you will save a lot of money. If you can afford to pay for the car outright, that’s the best way to go. However, if you’re like most of us, you’ll need to get a loan to buy a car. That’s OK. Prepare for it though. Shop around for decent interest rates and have as much money as possible saved to put down on the car. If you’re buying a $15,000 car for example, try to put at least five thousand dollars down on the car. It will lower your payment considerably. While you’re making your payments, do your best to pay off the car early. Double your car payment anytime that you’re able. Make yourself a goal to have that three year loan paid off in a year and half or two years. You can do it.
If you don’t already, start cutting out coupons for groceries. Buy in bulk if you can a store like Sam’s Club or Costco. Sure, you may pay $40 for a twenty pound pack of ground beef but you tell me where else you can buy good, bright red, lean ground beef for $1.99 a pound. Invest in some decent freezer bags and freeze some stuff. Don’t stop just at the groceries. Look though the paper and find specials on oil changes, tires and things like that. Shop around, and don’t be afraid to challenge a store to price match or to beat their competitor’s price. Make them work for the sale.
Carry A Calculator With You
That’s right. Go ahead and carry a calculator with you at all times. What? You don’t want to carry one around with you? I have news for you, you likely have one on your cell phone that never leaves your person. There, you have a calculator with you. Use it. Pull it out on a regular basis when you’re out and about. It will keep you from impulsively spending. It’s a good way to stay grounded and keep yourself from making stupid financial mistakes
Get Your Credit Score In Shape
If you’re like many people these days, your credit it shot. Get a copy of your credit score and report from all three credit rating companies. Trans union, Equifax, and Experian . Go through every bad thing on the reports, and start working out a way to pay them down and/or off. The sooner those negative accounts disappear the sooner your credit score will go up. Start off by paying off the little things first. You likely have a few things on there that are under five hundred dollars. Give them what you can. Sure they want it all and they want it now but in reality, they’ll be happy to get whatever they can from you. Call them up and try to work out a settlement. You’ll be surprised how many will jump at the chance of getting half of the amount instead of getting nothing.
If you spend 2011 doing these five things, you’ll be so much better off financially than you are now and it will just keep getting better and better. Good luck to you. You can do this!