Welcome back for Part 3 of our 5 Part Blog series on 50 Tips to improve your Financial Health in 2014. We’ve already brought you 15 excellent Tips that (we assume) you’ve already started using to clean up your finances and put some financial goals together for the new year. Today’s blog has 10 more that should help you on your way. Enjoy.
Tip 16: Get a credit card with “rewards”.
If you’re the type of person that pays off your credit card bills in full every month (and if you are, yay for you) then getting a rewards card might be an excellent idea, especially if you like to travel. There are plenty of different cards out there that give rewards for purchases and, if you use them wisely and, as we said, pay them off in full every month, they can actually add up to quite a bit.
Tip 17: Move back in with your family, or let your family move back in with you.
Simply put, the more people that can (peacefully) live under one roof, the more people you have to share the expenses like electricity, water, the mortgage payment and so forth. Cooking meals together is a great way to save money and other bills like cable TV can be split as well.
Tip 18: Be careful about lending money to family members, especially if you are close to retirement.
Let’s face it, most parents want to help their children in any way they can. The problem here is that if you are close to retirement and your child (adult or not) isn’t very wise with money, you might find yourself in a financially sticky predicament that’s only compounded by the fact that the person who now owes you money is also your own flesh and blood. All we can say here is that you should proceed with caution and, if necessary, some basic legal documentation.
Tip 19: Eat your leftovers.
This might sound silly but it’s been estimated that 160 BILLION pounds of food are wasted every year. With the cost of food skyrocketing it simply makes sense to keep an eye on perishable food, eat things before they go bad and, if necessary, shop a little more frequently so that fresh food doesn’t spoil in your refrigerator.
Tip 20: Invest in some new kitchen tools or a cookbook.
If done correctly, cooking at home can not only save you a lot of money it can also be much healthier than eating out. Having the correct tools and a little bit of knowledge will go a long way towards helping you to prepare easy, healthy and relatively cheap meals that allow you to keep more money where it belongs, in your savings account.
Tip 21: Make a point of using less energy.
You’ve no doubt heard this many times before but it begs repeating. Turn off lights when you leave a room, turn the heat down in winter and wear more layers of clothing to keep warm and use fans instead of air-conditioning to keep your home cool in spring and summer. Little things like these can save you 10 to 20% on your energy bill every month.
Tip 22: Use technology to lower your energy bills.
The advice in Tip 21 is excellent and you can further reduce your energy bills by doing things like increasing the insulation in your attic and purchasing a programmable thermostat. Using timers to turn lights on and off is a great idea as well.
Tip 23: Stop trying to impress the neighbors.
Question; do you really care what the neighbors think about you, your home or your other possessions? If you said “yes” then we really can’t help you. On the other hand, if you said “no, that’s silly” then do yourself a favor and stop trying to keep up with them, impress them or “wow” them with shiny new vehicles, home additions and so forth. If you’re happy with what you have, that’s all that really matters.
Tip 24: Take advantage of all of the benefits your employer gives.
From flexible spending accounts to 401(k) matching programs and even reimbursements on your gym membership fees, most employers offer plenty of perks that the average employee overlooks. Talk to your human resources person at work to find out what those perks are and start taking advantage of them today.
Tip 25: Plan for your high value purchases.
If you’re planning to purchase a new car, home or go on vacation in 2014 you should start planning for those major expenses now and putting money aside. All major purchases usually come with hidden costs that, if you aren’t planning for them, can hurt your financial plans. If you can, waiting to make those purchases until you have some extra cash set aside “just in case” is an excellent idea.
We hope you agree that those are a bunch of excellent Tips because we took a lot of time putting them together for you. (Aren’t we the nicest people?) Anyway, make sure to come back and join us very soon for Part 4 and a bunch more. See you soon.