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Money Saving Plans For Best Prospered Life

Written By Franklin V on Monday, April 25, 2011 | 8:52 AM

100 Essential Money Rules for Life After College

Now that you’ve graduated and have an actual paycheck to manage, the money rules have changed. And just as you have more money to spend, you also have more responsibilities. Here are 100 essential money rules for life after college.
General
Change your attitude about money by following these rules.
  1. Keep your perspective: You aren’t going to be living at the same level as your parents, so understand that it will take time to build up your financial security.
  2. Pay with cash: By paying with cash, you’ll literally be able to see where your money goes, making it harder to part with.
  3. Record your spending: Be completely honest with your record, even if it gets ugly. A budget can also reduce your impulse spending.
  4. Know that it’s a work in progress: You’ll have good weeks and bad weeks, but understand that stable financial security is a work in progress.
  5. Pay in full: Instead of charging something you really want, save up for it and pay in full.
  6. Save receipts: Saving your receipts is an easy way to track money and make sure you don’t overdraw your account.
  7. Be frugal with your information: Avoid personal identity theft by keeping up with financial statements, credit cards, and anti-virus for your online banking. Don’t give out your Social Security number unnecessarily, either.
  8. Talk to your parents: If you don’t have a job that pays enough, talk to your parents about which bills they’ll cover until you can, instead of just letting them send you money every month.
  9. Start a calendar budget: Organize your budget by planning out an annual schedule for when things need to be fixed, when bills are due, when you’ll take a vacation, and more.
  10. Buy generic: Save on everything by buying the generic version.
Debt and Loans
Get help paying off debt and student loans here.
  1. Get your credit report: Get a credit report and evaluate all of the debt you owe. Make a list of any amounts you’re unsure of and contact those creditors.
  2. Pay yourself first, then take care of debt: It might seem contradictory, but set up an emergency fund before you pay off debt. That way, you won’t start charging again once you pay everything off.
  3. Pay off the card with highest interest rate first: Your balance isn’t what’s killing you: it’s the interest rate. Pay off the card that has the highest interest rate before tackling the others.
  4. Ask the bank to lower your interest rate: It sounds weird, but sometimes banks are more willing to negotiate than you’d think.
  5. Balance debt payments with regular bills: Don’t go into debt all over again by forgetting to pay your current bills.
  6. Postpone repayment: If you simply can’t afford your loan payments because you don’t have full-time employment, ask to postpone payment.
  7. Consolidate your loans: It’s more convenient to pay off loans as part of a single payment.
  8. Pick cash over credit: An easy way to go into debt is to charge something even if you have the cash to pay for it.
  9. Catch spending problems early: Don’t wait until you’ve accrued hundreds or thousands of dollars in debt. If you can’t pay off a purchase one month, get organized and pay it off the next month.
Saving
Learning how to save is a huge process that can keep you out of debt and financially stable.
  1. Emergency fund: One of the first things you should do when you get a job is to put away money for emergencies, like car maintenance, or rent if you lose your job.
  2. Find tax-deductible expenses: Save on your taxes by organizing your tax-deductible expenses, especially if you’re self-employed.
  3. Save 10%: Take 10% out of your paycheck for savings.
  4. Do it your way: Save on recipes, fashion trends, and everything else by tweaking the original version and finding your own, cheaper way to do things.
  5. Squirrel away your change: Empty out your wallet of loose change every week and put it in a jar or piggy bank. You’ll quickly save up enough to cash in the coins for a movie ticket, date, or extra savings.
  6. Recycle: Recycle your lunch bags, plastic grocery bags, and other throw-away products by reusing them in new ways.
  7. Compare insurance rates: Shop around for the best insurance on dental, health, renters and your car.
  8. Be a smarter apartment shopper: Don’t buy or rent an apartment that’s way out of your price range. Consider factors like proximity to your work, energy efficiency and natural light, HOA fees, and parking fees.
  9. Don’t bother with life insurance: If you’re young and healthy, you don’t need to worry about paying for life insurance.
  10. Barter: Ask for discounts and look for items you can trade to save money.
  11. Rent or borrow instead of buying: Go to the library, borrow music from friends, and rent a tux instead of buying things you’ll use only once.
  12. Save on gas: Walk more, keep your car in good shape, and combine your errands to save on gas and save money.
  13. Stay healthy: Stay healthy to eliminate high insurance rates, medicine costs and trips to the doctor.
  14. Stay home more: Going to bars and restaurants every Friday and Saturday night will bleed your account dry.
  15. Don’t bring your credit card to the bar: Using your card under the influence is an easy way to overspend.
Budgeting
By budgeting for new expenses without going overboard, you’ll avoid debt but still be able to have fun.
  1. Prioritize: It’s easy to think that too many things are necessities. Prioritize your "necessities" and cut out costs that turn out to be "wants" rather than "needs."
  2. Consider your current situation: Create your budget for the money you have in your accounts right now, not for what you hope to have.
  3. Set a limit for everything: Set a limit for everything you spend money on, from food to utilities to clothing to rent to transportation to entertainment.
  4. Date someone who is financially responsible: Stick with relationships that encourage you to live, spend and save responsibly.
  5. Use web budget tools to eliminate error: Use calculators and automatic budget tools if your math skills aren’t so hot.
  6. Get a budgeting partner: Find a friend who needs to budget, too, and you can help each other stick to a savings plan.
  7. Set a goal: Set a savings goal amount for yourself so that it’s easier to stick to your budget.
  8. Travel on the cheap: Bunk with friends, carpool and buy food from grocery stores instead of eating out to travel on the cheap.
  9. Decide what you’re budgeting for: Whether it’s a trip with friends, a newer car, or a new dress, having a reason to budget will make the process less painful.
  10. Allow for tiny splurges: Celebrate the fact that you stuck to your budget each week by treating yourself to a special pint of ice cream or fancier bottle of wine on the weekend.
  11. Write everything down: Even if you went over your budget, don’t ignore it: recording everything will help you do better next time.
  12. Make allowances: Especially in the beginning, you’ll have to make allowances for mistakes and overspending.
  13. Consider fixed and variable expenses: Fixed expenses include regular bills while variable expenses include entertainment, gas and food. This section will need more attention when coming up with a budget.
  14. Follow the 60% Solution: This system means that you devote 60% of your pre-tax income to essentials. The rest, including savings, should be divided up in 10% chunks.
  15. Review your budget monthly: Review your budget monthly instead of weekly to analyze your spending habits in a cycle.
Investing
Get your feet wet with investing by considering these introductory tips.
  1. Open a Roth IRA: It’s never too early to start saving for retirement, and this system is easy to follow each month.
  2. Play with stocks first: Try out trading by reading about your options and experimenting with fake trading first.
  3. Rebalance and reevaluate: If your investment takes a hit, reevaluate your plan and the economy to come up with a new system for saving.
  4. Settle for good investments: Since you’re still young, you have a while to build up your investments and learn about the market. Settle for low-stress, simple investments that get your feet wet.
  5. Ask about 401(k)s: Ask your employer about profit sharing and other company investment benefits.
Lifestyle
Your post-college lifestyle is full of benefits and challenges. Learn how to live within your budget here.
  1. Learn when to say no: You aren’t living on the same budget as all of your friends, so you don’t have to feel pressured to keep up with their lifestyle. It’s okay to turn down trips to Vegas or even an extra happy hour that week if you’ve reached your limit.
  2. Decide what you need rather than what you want: Limit your spending to purchases that you need rather than want.
  3. Sleep on it: If you see something you don’t think you can live without, try sleeping on it and see if you’re still as attracted to it the next day.
  4. Get a roommate: Split costs with a roommate, especially if you want to live in a trendier, more expensive part of town.
  5. Drink less: Cut down on your alcohol intake to save money at the grocery store and when you go out.
  6. Split a Netflix plan: To save on entertainment costs, split a Netflix plan with a friend and hold movie nights for friends.
  7. Cook for yourself: Making your own lunches and dinners will save you serious cash and is good for your diet, too.
  8. Live within your means: Find out how much you can spend each paycheck without going overboard.
  9. Shop less: Avoid window shopping or shopping because you’re bored if you want to cut down on spending.
  10. Don’t be a sucker: Don’t fall for gimmicky products that you’ll regret buying in a week.
Income and Extra Cash
These money rules address salary negotiation, budgeting and more.
  1. Be more efficient with your time: Learn to become more efficient, and you’ll have more time to think of new ways to earn money, start a side job, get a promotion or even start your own business.
  2. Spend less than you earn: Eliminate debt and anxiety by having a little left over after each paycheck.
  3. Learn how to keep your job: By becoming more engaged, personable and indispensable to your boss, you’ll find greater job security and maybe a raise.
  4. Negotiate your salary: Once you’ve researched the market, your boss and your own skill level, negotiate your salary.
  5. Time is money, and vice versa: Think of cost as time spent working. For instance, if you want to buy a couch that costs $500, and you earn $20/hour, that means you’ll be paying for the couch with nearly a week’s work.
  6. Look for rebates: Buy products that offer good rebates.
  7. Sell your used stuff: You probably have a lot of leftover junk from college that you don’t need anymore. Don’t throw it out: sell it online or at a garage sale.
  8. Value experience and opportunity rather than salary: You’ll want to find a job that pays well, but as you begin your career, understand that factors like potential for promotion, experience and building a network are just as important.
Bills
Keep track of bills and avoid overspending by following these rules.
  1. Pay on time: Save on unnecessary late fees and interest rates by paying on time.
  2. Be more energy efficient: Buy energy efficient products and use less energy to save on energy bills.
  3. Split wireless with your neighbor: If you trust your neighbor, get one Internet account and split the wireless bill.
  4. Sign up for online bill pay: If your bank offers it, sign up for automatic online bill pay so that you’re never late.
  5. Become a smarter grocery shopper: Buy items you can freeze and buy in bulk to save on grocery bills.
  6. Avoid ATM fees: Withdraw money from your bank’s ATM or cash back from a store only.
  7. Shop around for the best deal: Shop around for everything from cable companies to energy companies.
  8. Keep track of due dates: Write them on a calendar or highlight due dates on the bill itself so you won’t forget.
  9. Be honest with how much cable you really need: How much time do you really spend watching TV, and what channels do you really watch?
  10. Decide which bills you pay from which paychecks: To avoid paying all of your bills in one pay period and risking overdrawing your account, set up a system that lets you spread out your bills.
Finding Deals
Here you’ll learn how to find deals and save on everything including transportation, eating out, and more.
  1. Sign up for discount cards: Rewards cards and discount cards offer savings for loyal customers without asking them to sign up for credit cards.
  2. Order an appetizer: Order an appetizer instead of an entree to save money when you eat out with friends. Always take home what’s left over.
  3. Trade your stuff: There are websites that network people interested in trading their gently used items for free.
  4. Use coupons: Find coupons easily by searching websites like RetailMeNot.com.
  5. Buy second-hand: You’re not in college anymore, but you can still find good quality second-hand clothing, cars, books and furniture until you get a raise.
  6. Use eBay and Craigslist: Find used items on Internet sites.
  7. Look for public transportation: Even if your city isn’t known for its mass transit, you can still explore options for using public transportation for part of your commute.
  8. Redecorate: Redecorate by rearranging your apartment, which costs nothing.
  9. Look for free events: Museums, city parks and similar venues often offer free events or free admission days.
  10. Use comparison shopping sites: Websites like PriceGrabber.com help you find the best deals on clothes, electronics, home and garden supplies, auto parts and more.
Credit
Keep your credit in good shape by following these tips.
  1. Don’t carry a balance: Avoid wasting money by paying your credit card balance in full each month. Otherwise, you’ll accrue interest and possibly other fees.
  2. Use your credit card for emergencies only: Use a debit card for regular purchases, and save your credit card for doctor’s visits, problems with your car or other emergencies.
  3. Use a credit union account: If your job makes you eligible for a credit union account, use their services for lower interest rates and other benefits.
  4. Use a credit card with benefits: Pick a specific credit card, like a gas card, to use to receive benefits and limit your credit card use in general.
  5. Stay below your credit limit: Don’t max out or even approach your credit card limit. Keep payments manageable by staying below the limit.
  6. Don’t open more than one credit card: The more credit cards you have, the more interest you’ll accrue, the more bills you’ll have each month, and the easier it will be for you to get into debt.
  7. Don’t ask to increase the limit: Don’t ask your bank to increase your limit so that you can charge more when it’s already maxed out.
  8. Throw out credit card offers: Now that you have a job and have built up a little credit, you’ll start receiving more and more offers from banks. Save yourself the temptation by throwing them in the trash.
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