In parts 1 to 3 of our 5-part blog series of tips on how to improve your finances we’ve talked about all sorts of ways to cut down on your spending, save money on all sorts of purchases and increase your savings. In part 4 we have more of the same and so, without further delay, let’s get started. Enjoy.
- While it’s normal to be generous with your children (and believe us, baby boomers have been very generous) often the type of generosity that mom and dad show towards their kids has a detrimental effect on their own financial stability. While we enjoy doting on our kids just as much as any other parents, we can only advise that putting your financial security at risk to help your kids may not, in the end, help anyone.
- Speaking of children, if you’re struggling to explain to them why you can’t buy them something or why you don’t have the newest gadgets or latest automobiles, there are a growing number of apps and programs that you can use to help explain financial ideas to your kids that will help them to understand why you can’t always purchase exactly what they want. You can check for these on iTunes and the Android marketplace.
- There are quite a few websites and apps these days that can help you with your finances and also help you to make some financial decisions. For example, smartasset.com and mint.com are two websites that you can use to help you get organized financially, set up a budget and make other personal finance decisions like whether to rent or buy. While these sites are not exactly the perfect substitute for expert financial advice, they can be quite helpful.
- The Social Security administration has stopped sending out paper statements and, if you’re missing that annual estimate of what you’re going to get once you’re retired, you simply need to go to their website, login, create an account and keep up with it online. If you’re not computer savvy you can do this at the library and ask for help or ask a family member or friend to show you how to do it on your home computer.
- One of the biggest money mistakes that many people make is to do nothing when a product or service that they have recently purchased isn’t working or is and what they expected. Simply put, if you spend your hard earned money on a product or service that doesn’t meet your expectations, contacting the seller or manufacture is a must. It’s not illegal or immoral so, if you’re not satisfied, pick up the phone and let someone know. In many cases you’ll get a refund, a discount for future purchases or something else of value for your trouble.
- Speaking of speaking up, if you’re having trouble getting a company’s attention one of the easiest, quickest and most attention-getting ways of getting their attention is to find them on social media and leave a negative review. Today, social media has become extremely important for most companies as well as testimonials and reviews. If you leave a negative comment or review you’ll find that many companies will bend over backwards to help you so that, when all is said and done, you go back and retract that review or replace it with a positive one.
- Saving money on gasoline is extremely vital today with gas prices going through the roof. We’ve written numerous blogs about gas saving tips and techniques and, if you haven’t seen them, take a few minutes and go back to check them out. We promise it will be worth your time and effort.
- If you’re considering refinancing your home, the first thing that you should do is use an online refinance calculator to help you crunch numbers and find out if a new mortgage will actually save you money or not. Yes, interest rates are low and refinancing may be very tempting but, if the numbers don’t work out, you may wish to stick with what you already have.
- While this one is easier said than done, protecting and (when possible) improving your credit score is always a good idea. When you consider that your credit score will affect your ability to get loans, buy a car, rent an apartment and, in some cases, even affect your ability to get a job, taking care of your credit score by taking care of your finances is possibly one of the most important tips in this entire series.
- We’ve talked about this a number of times in other blogs already but it begs repeating; take advantage of your yearly free credit report. Today it’s even more vital as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced that they’re going to start supervising credit bureaus and reporting agencies in an effort to make the world of credit scores and credit reports more open, accessible and transparent to the average consumer.
Well, part 4 is now in the books and we hope that you found it valuable and interesting. Many of the tips that we’ve been giving you during these first 4 blogs are not new but they certainly should be helpful. We hope that you agree and that, when you have a moment, you’ll come back and visit us for the 5th and final part. See you then.