Simple, easily do-able ways to increase your money management skills
By Nancy Clement
June 24, 2011(La Mesa) - Congratulations to the new 2011 East County college graduates and best wishes for your future! One important thing to think about is even though the job market is not the best right now, it is turning around, you have skills, and talents that only you can contribute--so do not let the negativity you hear, see or read in the media stifle your career goals. Our society needs your creativity and contributions. Remember: “Incredible things happen…when you hold on to your Dreams” Bergsma 1990.
Many of you will be embarking on a new life and for some of you, this will be the first time you are financially responsible for yourself. Here are some ideas and money tips to assist you.
Pay yourself first; even if you only have enough money to empty out your loose change, it is a start to form a lifelong habit. Warren Buffet started investing when was around eleven years old and has been quoted as saying he regrets he did not start investing sooner.
When you are in a store and the store employees offer you a free item or a discount if you get a credit card, DO NOT accept the offer! The requirement will be for them to have permission and run your credit report. Do not allow people to run your credit. Every time your credit is run, it places an inquiry on your credit report and this lowers your credit score.
If you need a car, get a good pre-owned car. Do not buy a new car. A new car drops in value just by driving off the car lot; there are many deals for used cars.
If you are going to buy another car, go to your credit union and get the loan pre-approved before you shop. This will give you greater advantage in securing a lower car price and typically, credit unions have lower interest rates.
If you are renting make sure to get renters insurance; it is inexpensive at about $20 a month and a lot less expensive than having to replace everything you own. The property owner/landlord’s insurance policy will cover their losses, not yours.
Comparison shop prices whenever you buy anything that has a substantial outlay of money. Like car insurance oftentimes, you can get the same product for less. Also, make a habit of reading the small print so you can avoid nasty surprises.
Hold on to your cash. Is there something you want to buy that you can barter or trade items or services with someone to get goods and services you need?
Plan for the big picture and create an opportunity fund; that way you have money available to take advantage of opportunities that make show up.
Pay bills on time and if you cannot pay on time, then let the creditor know and see what you can work out with them, they may have some flexibility and work with you. Sometimes they will not be able to help you, but if you do not ask, for sure you will not get.
Make a plan to pay off student loans, check with employer to see if they have any program that can help you accomplish that goal.
As a new graduate, you can deduct up $2,500 a year from your taxes for student loan payments. Here is the IRS website http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc456.html , check it out.
Nancy Clement writes money saving tips to encourage mindful spending so you have more dollars available for housing, travel, retirement and investment plans. She is a Realtor® and Mortgage Consultant; e-mail her at Dollar-WiseDiva@Cox.net or call 619-563-4184 with column suggestions or comments.