To Keep Up with the Kardashians…or Not!
Save 40% today! How many emails do you receive from retailers enticing you with fantastic deals? TV and print ads boast trends while depicting your favorite actor/model/athlete, begging you to use your credit card for the latest stuff?
There is a reason you see so many commercials with popular stars – they live an expensive lifestyle and need the money they receive for endorsing products! However the media does not show you how much debt your favorite stars incur or how much they need to make to keep up their lifestyle.
You want to look trendy and try to keep up with the Kardashians, but you also need to consider long-term savings and good credit practices. Here are some tips to a sensible financial future.
Start by making a list of your bills (i.e. rent/mortgage, car note, gym membership). Then list the things you like to buy throughout the week. When you see something you do not use or need, it can be eliminated from your budget. You will be surprised how much money you spend on random purchases. Set aside 5-10% of your paycheck for savings. Also, include a small amount for fun money.
2. Automatic Savings Plan
Set up an automatic savings plan or auto transfer to a savings or money market account. Start with a small amount and as you adjust to living on less, slowly increase the amount of your transfers. Not sure where to cut expenses? Take your lunch to work or cut back on your morning coffee run.
3. 401k or IRA
Saving in an IRA or investing in company stock is a great way to save. Many companies match 401k contributions up to 3%…which is almost like your employer paying you to save for your retirement. You are usually able to borrow against your 401K, but this should be done when purchasing a home, consolidating your credit cards or for an emergency. Remember, repayment of a 401k loan is deducted directly from your paycheck.
Having good credit can save money. Credit cards or secured credit cards like MasterCard and Visa are different from prepaid debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa logo. A credit card or a secured credit card can be used at any merchant that accepts them, reports to the 3 major credit bureaus and is a great tool for building credit when used wisely. A prepaid debit card cannot rebuild credit.
When you carry a balance on your credit card or secured credit card, you are charged interest. Interest is a penalty for not paying off your balance in full at the end of the billing cycle (most credit cards have a 20 – 25 day grace period in which you are not charged interest).
Read the terms and conditions carefully to find the best secured credit card or credit card. If the Annual Percentage Rate or APR is above 18% you should compare the rates of other banks. A higher APR means more money out of your pocket if you carry a balance.
You can learn how to rebuild credit and have a healthy credit score by following these simple steps. Pay your bills on time. Pay more than the minimum amount due, and if possible pay the balance in full.
So, it’s not about keeping up with others. You can have good credit and healthy savings when you stay within the guidelines of your budget and save automatically. It may be hard at first, but keep striving to make it work. There is no better feeling than having extra money at the end of the year. Following a budget does not restrict you from buying something cool or trendy. It just means you have to wait a little longer.