Financial Answer Center
One of the most basic financial planning goals is to accumulate money. Money can be accumulated in a number of ways. One of the most common is to save money each year by spending less than your income every year.
Tax planning. This can result in paying less tax, which means you keep more of what comes in. Take advantage of tax planning opportunities!
Think about refinancing your mortgage. Experts generally recommend that you refinance your existing mortgage if you can lower your interest rate by 1 to 2 points and recoup any related closing costs before you move from your home.
Call your mortgage lender and find out if they offer biweekly payment schedules. You can reduce the interest over the life of your mortgage tremendously by make payments more frequently.
If your company offers a 401(k) plan, make sure you enroll! When you contribute before tax dollars to a 401(k) plan, the amount of your pay that is subject to taxes is lowered by the amount of your before-tax contributions. This means you pay less in taxes and receive more take-home pay. In addition, most employers will match your contribution up to a certain limit—that's a 100% return on a portion of your contribution!
If your employer offers a health care flexible spending account and/or a dependent daycare flexible spending account, use them! The money that you deposit into these accounts on a pre-tax basis can be used to pay for non-reimbursed medical expenses—like your deductibles and coinsurance, or the expenses at a daycare center your child attends. (Be careful though—you will lose any money you deposit into your account if you don't use it for health care or dependent care.)
Pay off your credit cards as quickly as you can. Did you know that if you have $10,000 of credit card debt at 18% and you are paying it off at the rate of $200 per month (and not adding more debt to it), it will take you almost 8 years to pay it off. If the rate is only 10%, it will still take you about 5 ½ years. AND think about transferring your current balances to a lower rate credit card. This will help you to be able to pay off the balance sooner.
Use automatic deductions from payroll and from bank accounts to put money into savings. If you don't see it, you won't miss it.