It’s no secret that we are still in the middle of one of the leanest times in living memory. This far-reaching financial crisis is now a global issue with banks right at the heart of the problem. Whether it’s over-lending, over-paying or unfair bank charges they’ve caused a lot of havoc across the world. But while you let it play out, you can do things individually to help better manage your money and steer through these uncertain financial waters.
Many people find themselves asking questions like, ‘Do I really need that?’ or ‘ Will I need this money for something more important?’ These two questions are being asked more and more often and they are of the utmost importance to ensure that your funds are spent and saved wisely in this time of economic hardship.
But what actions can you take to make sure your money goes as far as possible? What can you actually do to tighten your belt? Well, there are a number of actions you could take, some small, some big and have been tried and tested over the years with varying success. To save you time and hassle and to remove the guess work, here’s the:
1. If you are renting a home, look to buy one
This may sound a little over the top but there are a lot of incentive programs available with the economy the way it is to help new or first time home-buyers. You may be surprised at the cost a mortgage vs. the money you pay for rent. In a lot of cases there is not a big difference between the costs of renting and owning, plus; with home ownership: you have an investment.
2. Use credit lines with great caution
If you are fortunate enough to have access to cards and loans, use them when only necessary. Using a credit card just because you have one is a mistake people often make. Try looking at your credit card as if it is only for use during an emergency and do not make purchases with your credit card that you could use cash for. And the Golden Rule: always pay off the full balance or as much as possible to avoid bank charges at the end of the month.
3. Set a budget
Keep your budget realistic and at the end of a pay period, save anything you have remaining as a contingency fund. Ultimately, when you find yourself in the middle of a financial crisis, it is important to remember that you can get through this situation. It is not the end of the world, it will just take some financial guidance and the will power to stick to a budget.
This is a guest post by John Gregory, who works within the financial claims sector for a company called BankCharges.com. He writes for sites that discuss such topics as house sales, repossession and business finance.