If you ever tune into one of the 24/7 news channels, it’s all doom and gloom these days. The stock market is a complete roller coaster ride and the U.S. debt problems are on the lips of every pundit. Every person has a different opinion as to how to fix our problems and it can be really stressful to watch. So I suggest you turn off the TV, and instead do the things that you actually have control over. In other words, work on managing your personal economy.
1. Contribute to your Retirement. – Don’t count on the government being able to fund your retirement. You have to take personal responsibility for your future. The younger you are, the longer you have until you retire. So go ahead and put off retirement savings for another day, right? Wrong. Flip this one on it’s ear and take the approach that the younger you are the more compounded interest your retirement fund will be able to take advantage of. So start putting any amount of money into a 401k or Roth IRA. It could be $10 a month, it could be $100 a month, whatever you can afford, just start! Ten years from now you will thank me.
2. Build an Emergency Fund. – There is nothing more stressful than not having enough money to cover life’s unexpected problems. An example would be hearing a strange noise coming from your car’s engine and hoping it doesn’t break down because you know you can’t afford to fix it. I have personally been there and I know how stressful it can be. So this is why I suggest building up an emergency bank account fund with at least 3 months of income in it. I know this can be really hard if you also have debt you are trying to pay off, but if you can put aside $100 a month toward an emergency fund it can be done. This may mean cancelling or downgrading services like cable TV, or your cell phone plan, but the peace of mind that comes with an emergency fund makes it all worth it.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of the Stock Market. – If you are in your 20’s, 30’s, or even your 40’s, you have time on your side. The latest market correction will be nothing more than a small bump in the road over the course of time. So do not panic and take yourself out of the game. Stay the course and ride through this bumpy time. This is so important because if you take yourself out of the stock market the day after the DOW goes down 400 points, you are going to miss out on the day when it goes up 350. Stay the course.
4. Focus on your Debt. – Just because the United States consistently spends more then they bring in, it doesn’t mean you have to follow their lead. If you carry any credit card debt make a pact with yourself to focus on paying it down. Stop using your cards and carry cash. This is a great psychological money management tip. If you see the cash leaving your pocketbook you will be less likely to impulse shop.
When it come to paying off your credit cards, start with the card with the highest interest rate and put every extra dollar into paying off the balance. Look at this way, if your card carries a 18% interest rate, you are literally saving 18% of every dollar you put toward your card balance.
What tips would you add to my list? Perhaps managing your personal economy by shopping smarter, and a big part of that is using coupons when available. Here is a list of current offers that can hopefully save you some money. Thanks again Fanny for letting me contribute to your terrific blog.
About The Author: Kyle James owns and operate a website called Rather-Be-Shopping.com which specializes in coupon codes for over 700 stores, organized in 25 shopping categories. He also has a blog, where he writes about frugal living tips, creative ways to save money, and other musings about the adventures and mis-adventures of raising 3 active kids.
Photo Credit: bransorem