Personalfinance tips

Keep Your Savings Out of Your Checking Account

Here’s a universal truth: If you see you have money in your checking account, you will spend it. Period. The fast track to building up savings starts with opening a separate savings account, so it’s less possible to accidentally spend your vacation money on another late-night online shopping spree.

Make Savings Part of Your Monthly Budget

If you wait to put money aside for when you consistently have enough of a cash cushion available at the end of the month, you’ll never have money to put aside! Instead, bake monthly savings into your budget now. Read more on this and other big savings mistakes—and how to fix them.

Get Renters Insurance

It, of course, covers robberies, vandalism, and natural disasters, but it could also cover things like the medical bills of people who get hurt at your place, damages you cause at someone else’s home, rent if you have to stay somewhere else because of damage done to your apartment—and even stuff stolen from a storage unit. Not bad for about $30 a month!

Get More Life Insurance on Top of Your Company’s Policy

That’s because the basic policy from your employer is often far too little. Not convinced? Read how extra life insurance saved one family.

If You Have Bad Credit, Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured card helps build credit like a regular card—but it won’t let you overspend. And you don’t need good credit to get one! Here’s everything you need to know about secured credit cards.

Keep Your Credit Use Below 30% of Your Total Available Credit

Otherwise known as your credit utilization rate, you calculate it by dividing the total amount on all of your credit cards by your total available credit. And if you’re using more than 30% of your available credit, it can ding your credit score.

Review Your Credit Report Regularly—and Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

This woman learned the hard way that a less-than-stellar credit score has the potential to cost you thousands. She only checked her credit report, which seemed fine—but didn’t get her actual credit score, which told a different story.

Consider an All-Cash Diet

If you’re consistently overspending, this will break you out of that rut. Don’t believe us? The cash diet changed the lives of these three people. And when this woman went all cash, she realized that it wasn’t as scary as she thought. Really.

Check your credit reports and credit score annually

Check your credit reports from each credit bureau (there are three) annually using annualcreditreport.com. Even if your credit card company offers credit monitoring or reporting, it’s a good idea to check your actual reports through this site to get your official reports. It’s what I do and find it very easy to use. The reason you should check your credit reports annually is to verify all the information is correct, and make sure your identity hasn’t been compromised.

Use a third-party aggregator

If you manage your finances electronically, you may feel more comfortable using a third-party aggregator to get the big picture of your financial situation. Mint.com is an example of one, and I know there are more. This is ideal if you want an app on your phone and prefer using digital budgeting and net worth tracking opposed to doing it manually.

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