Personal Finance Tips

1. Evaluate the amount of money you owe – Prior to starting to pay your debts, you must know and determine the amount of what your debts total. The most effective way to find this out is to build an itemized list noting all your debts as well as the most important information regarding each particular debt. You should figure out what expenses have the highest rates and make these a top priority to pay off first.

2. Avoid increasing the amount of debt that you already have – If you are having difficulty paying off existing debt refrain from gaining new financial obligations. Implement savings practices to be able to make payments which are due in a time frame greater than one month, for example certain bills require payment every three months. Get into the habit of putting the money aside for paying it when it does come due.

3. Reduce your expenses – Lower them by creating a budget and following through on sticking to it.

4. Do not use credit cards instead pay with cash – Unless you have paid off your debt in total, credit cards should only be used for emergencies. Make it a habit to use cash for transactions.

5. Always prepare a shopping list – Make a list of the items that you need to buy in advance of shopping so you know what you plan on spending. Small step like this can help eliminate debt faster.

6. Create a strategy to meet you expenses with your income – Use a monthly plan and you will be aware of the money you have available for spending and the money you need for bills. If you happen to have extra money, use this to pay your bills, this will help eliminate debt faster and save on interest charges.

7. Use negotiation strategies – Alleviating debt and being able to pay of your loan can include an element of negotiation. Find creditors with lower rates to transfer your debt over to but be careful of flat rate fees. The average is a 3% fee for transferring debt. You may be able to renegotiate terms with your existing creditor. A simple phone call can help you save a lot of money in interest payments. Tell them that you have been offered a lower interest rate and are considering switching.

8. Always decide whether you really need to purchase or not before you buy – Many people buy things that they simply do not need. By budgeting you will become used to being financially conservative. Your purchases will slow down and you’ll be able pay off debt even faster.

9. Do not miss payments or incur extra fees for bad debt – If you miss too many payments you’ll add up to 60% more fees and additional interest on your existing debt. Paying the minimum payment on a debt that’s gone bad will add years and years of payment time onto the debt. High interest credit cards are bad debt and should be paid off quickly. Payday loans are particulary harmful and have APRs in the high double digits. You will be far better off if you don’t get yourself involved with any level of bad debt in the first place.

10. Buy a used car – Cars are generally a bad investment. Purchase a used car to use for a long period of time and take care of it.


When you want to invest money for a future event you have several options available to you. You do not have to choose risky ventures or volatile stocks for investment.  If you invest your cash in modes which are safe, you will be gain a good return over the longrun.

Consider bonds. There are several types types of bonds available to invest in. When the stock market is down bonds usually are more attractive and provide stability to your portfolio. Bonds are issued by the Government and large corporations to finance debt.  Bonds are attractive because they have consistent payments and don’t have the same market fluctuations seen in the stock market.  Safe bonds pay less than risky bonds with a lower rating but for most investors high rated bonds are the best choice.

Another safe type of investment is mutual funds. These exist when money has been put together by a group of investors in order to buy stocks or bonds and possible other investments. Use a qualified broker with experience in investing mutual funds. While mutual funds are considered safer than buying stocks individually they still come with costs you need to be aware of. Some argue mutual funds are more expensive than index traded funds and may not be worth pursuing. With all things seek balance and prudence in your investment strategy. Mutual funds should be considered if the maintenance fees are low and the prospectus is read carefully so you understand what the fund managers intend to do with the money in the account. You cannot depend on prior year performance as an indication of future performance.

Stocks are also a commonly used method for long term investment when bought through index or mutual funds. Stocks are shared ownership in a company. Stock will rise as a company is successful financially and vice versa if it does poorly. Some companies are safer to invest your stock in than others and diversifying helps spread the risk so your financial goals don’t depend on one single company.

You must be willing to do research before you decide where your money is going to be invested for a long term. Choose to buy stocks which are well established. When using mutual funds make sure that your broker has a good reputation in terms of their track record. Bonds are the safest bet as they are government guaranteed but their return tends to be the lowest.

Capital assets are anything that you use for your personal business and that you own. These may be things such as houses, furniture, your stocks and bonds, jewelry, other precious metals or properties. If you sell these things for more than you purchased them for you have a capital gain. These are all taxable and are required to be reported on your income tax return.

Losses taken on business property or investment property are deductible. Capital gains and losses are able to be classified as either long term or short term. If you are in possession of the asset for a period of more than one year, your capital gain is long term. If you sell your home, it is possible that you can exclude income from any gain up to a certain amount, on a joint return this is $500,000. You must have lived in the home for at least two years during a five year period which ended on the date of sale of that property to exclude this.

You may also choose to invest in property over the long term. You must report gains from any sales of personal or business property. Gains that you have received from sales in bonds, stocks or commodities are reported to you through broker and barter exchange proceeds or transactions or a similar statement.