In spite of the fact that this generation is more educated than their grandparents, most college and university graduates lack the basic skills and discipline for managing money. It appears that financial education courses are lacking in the school systems.
Here are 10 rarely used but practical money management tips that were more popular in Grandad’s day and should be revived today.
1. Save for yourself first. Try to put around 5 to 10 percent of your income into a savings account before you pay your bills.
2. Create a budget and stick to it. You need to know where and how you spend your money so you can eliminate unnecessary expenses in order to meet your financial goals.
3. Set Goals! As you plan a budget, try to identify your family’s short and long term financial goals. Working toward a fixed goal makes saving money easier. For example, you can decide that in 10 years, you should be able to eliminate your mortgage, or have sufficient money saved to buy a home.
4. Save To Spend! You don’t need to deprive yourself. You simply need to be able to pay for it with cash. For example, if you must have that new entertainment center, save for it and buy it only when you have the cash in hand to pay for it. When ever possible, do not use credit of any kind.
5. Avoid unnecessary debt. We are steeped in a debt culture where everything from consumer goods to education is bought with credit. Reduce your debts wherever you can. There is no such thing as good debt in the long run.
6. Set up an emergency fund. In addition to your savings account, try to set some money aside as an emergency fund. When you have any immediate requirement or an unplanned emergency, your emergency fund will help you stay away from loans.
7. Stop Using Credit Cards! Credit cards are the primary root of our debt, yet it is difficult to do without them. Learn to maximize the benefits they offer. Resist the urge to use your credit card for anything but an emergency or items you can and will pay off at the end of every month. Paying your credit card balance in full every month will help prevent the (APR) annual percentage rate of interest from rising.
8. Compare Credit Cards. Research extensively before you apply for a credit card in order to get the card that best suits your needs. Compare their annual fees, interest rate, grace period, late fees and any other charges.
9. Get a debit card. With a debit card, you develop the discipline of staying within your financial limits. A debit card gives you instant access to your money and limits your spending capacity to the available cash in your bank account.
10. Never use your credit card for cash advances. You will have to deal with unbelievable interest rates that usually begin at the moment you take the advance. If you need a cash advance from your credit card, you are overspending. Go back, review your budget and goals, then get back on track.
Realize that using your credit card is taking out a loan. Every time you take out your credit card to buy something, ask yourself if that product or service is so necessary that you are prepared to take out a loan for it. You will likely realize that the purchase can wait until you have the cash in hand to pay for it.
These 10 financial tips are a good start to healthy money management.