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Money Moves to Start Making Now to Get Ahead

Our lives are so busy with work, family, friends, so much that do you ever get to sit back and take a long look at your finances?  While experts have said that two-thirds of the population do not use a budget, it’s sort of scary thinking that every month is just a spending free for all, hoping that at the end of the month you had more money coming in than going out.  Most of us live paycheck to paycheck, but with a few tweaks and careful planning, you can finally start getting ahead by freeing up extra money every month and really start to build up your family nest egg for when you are finally ready to walk away from work for good and continue to enjoy life’s experiences.

Check Your Credit Report

If you’ve ever applied for a mortgage, auto or personal loan, let alone a credit card, you know that your credit score is the major factor in both your approval and the interest rate that you will receive.  The higher the interest rate, the more money out of pocket in the long run, so it’s important to strive for the best credit score you can so you can get the best rate on the market.  By pulling a free copy of your credit report from the credit bureaus each year, you can at least make sure that all of your accounts on record are up to date and accurate.  While a score will not be included, you can now view your credit score on monthly statements to ensure that your score continues to trend in the right direction.

Use a Credit Card for All Purchases

It used to be that credit cards received a bad reputation, probably the perception that by using one, you don’t have the money, but while I guess that could be the case for some, using a credit card can actually make sense, and can be argued it should be used for every purchase.  Between the fraud protection provided, widely accepted, not to mention the rewards in points or cashback just by making the normal purchases that you would be making anyways, you could be leaving free money on the table by not using!

Track Expenses

If you were asked what you’re currently spending on food in a month, or gas, or let alone what your monthly bills are, would you be able to say?  Not to mention spending money is probably where a good chunk of your money is going.  By reviewing last month’s debit or credit card statement each month, you can actually go line by line at what you’re currently spending and giving a second look to see what probably could have been avoided, once you add all of those charges up and see what could have been leftover in your bank account.

Build an Emergency Fund

You never know what life will throw your way so it’s a good idea to be as prepared as you can.  You can be plugging along getting by paycheck to paycheck when all of a sudden you get hit with an unexpected vet bill or auto repair, that could really throw your budget out of whack.  Likely having to put these charges on a credit card, you’re not worried about making these additional payments every month, not to mention the interest that is being tacked on.  By saving up a few months’ worth of expenses in an account, you can give yourself a much-needed cushion.

Maximize Retirement Contributions

While it may still be decades away from when you are finally able to call it a career, that doesn’t mean saving for retirement should not be the focus now.  After all, the earlier you can save, the more it has time to grow over time, not to mention you don’t have to scramble to catch up your retirement account later on.  Take a look at work to see if there are any employer-matching contributions you could be missing out on, otherwise that could be free money that could be going unclaimed and think about how much that money could help grow your account over the next few decades.

Reduce Monthly Bills

When it comes to freeing up extra money, you may have to make some sacrifices that are not always easy.  A couple places where you can save a few hundred dollars a month easy would be to cancel your cable, and avoid going out to eat as often, opting for a streaming service for around $10 a month, and going grocery shopping so that you can prepare your meals at home.

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