What Can You Do To Be In A Better Financial Situation A Year From Now?
Pay one extra mortgage payment a year and you can shave about 7 years off the life of your mortgage.
Have a portion of each paycheck deposited directly into your savings. If you already do that, increase is by 1%. It’s little enough that you probably won’t notice it, but big enough to make a difference. If you make $50,000 a year, that’s an extra $500! Re-evaluate your credit card. Is it the best one for you? Rewards cards often carry a higher interest rate, so unless you can pay off your balance in full each month, your rewards may be negated by interest. But if you are able to pay off your balance, then why wouldn’t you want to be rewarded for your spending? American Express allows cardholders to use rewards points to pay federal, state and local income taxes. But there are catches. Using rewards to pay taxes eats up a lot of points quickly. And payments are made by filing taxes via a tax-paying website such as Official Payments, which charges service fees. Look at redemption rates, says Davidson. They might not be the best use of your rewards points. On the plus side, some credit cards award points when you use them to pay taxes. There are a few cards that allow users to deposit rewards points in IRAs or 529 accounts or put rewards points toward paying down their mortgages. These cards often come with restrictions -- for instance, one such card requires the cardholder to make $2,500 in purchases before points can start going to the mortgage -- so be sure to read the fine print. The Fidelity Retirement Rewards American Express Card is an example of a rewards card in which points can be deposited in a retirement account or a 529 account. "It's a great card for somebody who wants to apply rewards to a goal such as college spending. How Does Having Good Credit Save You Money?
When many of us think about our financial reputation, the first thing that comes to mind is credit score. There is truly only one free credit report service - annualcreditreport.com.
Get 3 free reports a year. ALWAYS pay your bills on time. The largest chunk of your FICO score (35%) is Payment History, meaning lenders want to know, did you pay on time. If you just can’t pay… keep the line of communication open with your creditors / don’t ignore the problem / you want to handle it and come up with a repayment plan before it’s turned over for collection. Having a good credit score can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime with better interest rates on things like a mortgage and auto loans.
How Do You Pay Off Debt And Save At The Same Time?
No matter what, you should always be tucking away a little money. That’s why, when you’re creating a budget, it’s so important to consider saving a necessary expense, the same you would budget for electricity and food. That being said, if you’re only paying the minimum balance each month, you’re never going to dig yourself out of debt, so the key is finding balance. For example if you owe $6,000 at 16% interest and pay the minimum balance of $100, it’s going to take you more than 10 years to pay it off. Even just increasing that payment by $50 a month cuts that time by more than half. What Is Someone Can’t Afford To Put Away Any Extra Money?
Think of creative ways to save. For example, coupons are like free money. So every time you grocery shop, look at the bottom of your receipt and whatever you saved with coupons, transfer to your savings account. That could amount to hundreds, maybe even thousands by the end of the year. Or, make a goal not to spend any change this year. At the end of the day, stash whatever you have in a jar and cash it in at the end of the year. Coinstar estimates that around $10 billion in loose change is sitting idle in American households.
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