We all know that saving isn’t easy, but you don’t have to be rich to start. Most of us don’t have a ton of extra money lying around anyway. However, just setting aside a small amount regularly can make a difference and add up and if you choose the right account with the right interest your money can grow even fast. Interest is money that you earn for using the savings account, kind of like the financial institution is paying you to put your money there. The higher the interest rate the more money you can earn too.
Think of it as “paying yourself first,” you put money toward your savings account first, before you go out and spend any. So where are you going to find this money to start saving? Try looking at where your money goes, track your spending for a month or two to see where you are spending it.This will allow you to alter your spending habits so you have money available to save. When determining where to alter your spending, think about needs vs. wants. Ask yourself, “Is this something that I need or do I just want it?” Once you have an understanding or your needs and your wants you will be able to decide what areas you can take money from for your savings, without affecting your financial responsibilities like bills and rent. Create a budget to track your spending, this will show you where your money is going and allow you to adjust how and where you spend it.
A checking account gives you additional access to your money; it is going to be your “spending” account. When you start creating regular spending habits and need greater access to your money than a savings account can offer, this will be the type of account you’ll need to get. Your checking account is going to provide you with great access by having an ATM/Debit card and checks provided with it.
An ATM/Debit card may look like a credit card but works in a very different way. Your ATM/Debit card will allow you easy access to your money in two ways.
There are a bunch of different types of checking accounts out there so be sure to look at all the features each has to offer and pick the one that best suits your needs. Some features to pay attention to:
There are a ton of different features out there so do your research. You don’t want to pick the wrong one and find out later that it isn’t working with your lifestyle. A good thing to look for is a “No Minimum Balance, No Fee, Free Checking Account”. This will limit the amount of fees you may be charged – and save you money.
Creating a budget can be a valuable tool in keeping order to your finances. A budget is going to help you keep tack of your money.It severs three main functions:
Now don’t start to get scared; a budget really isn’t that difficult. Think of it as this, a way for you to write down and track all of your finances and where they go. There are several different ways of doing a budget too, find the method that you feel most comfortable with. You can keep a note book of your spending, keep all your receipts in an envelope, there are even computer programs that you can use to track spending. Find the one that fits your situation and start tracking where your money goes. Try tracking your habits for one month, then at the end of the month create categories for your spending, add up the totals and see where you might need to make some adjustments to your spending. You want to make sure that you have enough money for the important things first, like bills, rent and tuition, before you go out and spend your money on extracurricular activities. Once you have your budget system in place you can feel confident that you will have enough money for those bills as well as know how much is left over for the fun stuff.
A credit card is a thin plastic card that allows the person named on it to charge purchases or services to his/her account, meaning you don’t pay for it now, you are “loaned” the money and will receive a bill at a later date. Most credit card companies bill you on a monthly basis. They will add up all of your purchases and at the end of your billing cycle send you a bill for that amount, called your balance. You have the option at that time to pay off the entire amount or pay a partial payment. Be careful though, there is a cost to not paying off the entire balance. If you don’t pay off the entire balance each month, you’ll have to pay interest on what you buy.
Interest is based on your annual percentage rate (APR) and is a percentage of your balance. The higher the rate, the more interest you are charged. This interest gets added to the balance that you already owe, although, with all the cards out there, you can fairly easily find some with lower rates.
If you are thinking about getting a credit card, please take your time in making this decision. There are many advantages to having a credit card: safer than cash, convenient, helpful in emergencies, ability to rent cars or hotel rooms, buy now-pay later ability, but all credit cards are not created equal. Some have better interest rates, some come with bonuses such as cash back or frequent flyer miles, and some have different payment options. Make sure the card you sign up for has features that are right for you. There are so many different cards out there it can take just a little bit of research to find a card that fits your needs. Having the right card and being responsible with that card are keys to avoiding credit card debt. Debt problems can occur when you spend too much with your credit card and are unable to pay off your balance or worse yet, are only able to pay the “minimum balance”. That’s right, you don’t have to pay the entire amount each time you get a bill, the credit card company will accept a smaller amount, but every time you do this they add interest to your balance. This is where the problems can start. If you are only paying small amounts, sometimes the interest can keep you from making any progress on getting your balance paid off or paid down. You could also end up paying a lot more for your items due to the interest. Take a look at this example:
As you can see from this example, you can quickly get into trouble by not being careful with a credit card. If you do your research and are responsible after getting your card, it can be a valuable tool in handling your finances and can even help build your credit history.
Do you know what credit is?
Have you ever heard the term credit score or credit report? Maybe you have heard people talk about having good credit or bad credit. Credit can become an important tool in your financial life especially when it comes to buying bigger ticket items. How you manage your money can greatly affect your ability to get credit.
So then, what is credit? Credit is borrowing money when you buy something, with a promise to pay it back. Also realize that there is a cost to using credit, you have to pay back the amount borrowed, plus interest (a percentage of the money borrowed) and sometimes fees.
Once you begin using credit you will start to establish a credit “reputation”, this reputation will be summarized in what is called a credit report. Your credit report is a profile of your entire financial history; it shows how much money you owe and how well you pay it back. There are three main companies or credit bureaus that compile all your financial information to create your credit report: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. From your credit report, the credit bureaus will give you a numeric rating, this rating is called a credit score, the higher the score the better. Your score is based on a number of factors called the “Three C’s of Credit”:
Character: how a person has handled past debt obligations
Capacity: how much debt a borrower can comfortably handle
Capital: current available assets (cash, car, etc) that can be used to repay debt if needed
Credit can be very helpful, but if not used wisely, it can be dangerous. The earlier you start managing your money wisely the better your credit will be. Just by having a savings and/or checking account and maintaining a good record with your financial institution, you can establish good credit history.
So you’ve just turned 16 and got your drivers license, or maybe you are just tired of borrowing your parents’ vehicle, whatever it is, it is time to buy a car.
So where are you going to start?
How are you going to get the money?
What kind of car are you going to look for?
Sure, buying a car seems like a daunting task and there is a lot of information to understand, but once you’re familiar with all the terms and how financing works, you’ll be on your way to getting that car.
One of the best places to start is to figure out how much you can afford. If you have already created a budget then you should have a good idea, if not, you need to take a look at your finances and see what you can afford to pay. You will also have to decide if you can pay in full or if you will need to make monthly payments.
Now that you know what you can afford you need to start thinking about what kind of car you would like (within your price range). There are a lot of different cars out there so think about what you are going to use the car for and what your needs are. If you are going to be driving it long distances then fuel economy might be important, if you are going to be hauling stuff all the time then a pick-up truck might be for you. Use resources like the internet, magazines and newspapers to help you with your research.
Now it is time to head out and shop for your car. You know how much you can afford and you know what kind you are looking for, what else should you know? Here are some terms and tips to help you out:
Down Payment: Money you pay up front towards the cost of the car. Not the full amount, but it is deducted from the final price of the car.
MSRP: Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price. This is not the price you have to pay for a vehicle, just the price it is listed for.
APR: Annual Percentage Rate (interest rate). The percentage of the loan charged to the purchaser by the lender.
Term: The number of monthly payments on a loan. Range from 24-84 months (2 – 7 years). Longer terms may lower the payment, but usually increase the total you pay over the entire term.
Finance Charge: Total amount of interest charged over the term of the loan. Finance charge plus the total amount you finance equals the REAL cost of
Rebate: An amount of money offered by the manufacturer to help lower your cost.
You should be all set to buy a car. Just remember to do your research, take your time and compare all your options (cars and financing), this should allow you to get the best car for your money.
So you’re at that point in your life where you need to find a job. Where are you going to start? How are you going to find that perfect job?
Finding a job can take some time and effort, but there are several methods you can use to help with the search and the more methods you use, the quicker you can find the right job. Try some of these techniques in your job search:
Personal Contacts: Talk with friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, former coworkers or employers. You never know who they know.
School Career Planning Office: High school and college placement offices are designed with the purpose of helping you get a job. They have access to a wide array of resources that you might not, to help you find a job.
Employers: Directly contacting employers can be very successful. Research companies you would like to work for, then contact them concerning any job opening. You never know where it might lead, even if they don’t have an immediate opening. If you leave the right impression they may just call you when something becomes available.
Classified Ads: Newspapers and Internet job sites have listings for numerous jobs. Just check these daily and reply promptly as the positions fill quickly
Local, State, Federal Government: These can be great resources and help in two ways. First of all they need employees to fill the various positions within the governing offices. Secondly, they usually have various resource and assistant services to help you find a job.
Community Agencies: Many nonprofit, religious and vocational agencies offer help such as career counseling, development and/or placement. Many of these services are free as well.
So you’ve found a bunch of jobs that you would like to apply for. The next step is to put together a resume. A resume is a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, and having a good one can really increase your chances of getting the job. A good resume will make you stand out from all the other applicants. Here are some tips to creating a resume:
Know purpose of resume: The object of your resume is to get you an interview. Use the resume to highlight your key attributes. The interview will be your chance to actually land the job.
Use key words: Check the job description and related ad for an idea of what the employer is looking for, then use key words in your resume that portray these characteristics.
Use bullet points: Using bullet points and short sentences makes it easy for employers to scan through your resume and see your key points.
Most important information first: When arranging the sections of your resume (i.e. experience or schooling) put the most important ones at the top.
Keep content relevant and truthful: You don’t need to list every job you’ve ever had, old jobs or non-relevant jobs do not need to be listed. Keep it all truthful too, if you don’t have the experience, don’t make things up.
Constantly revise: Your resume should always be changing to accurately depict who you are. Update it to include new achievements or make changes so it is relevant to the job you are applying for.
So after all the hard work of finding a job and putting together a resume, you got an interview. You are almost there, but giving a good impression and nailing the interview can make all the difference in getting the job. The employer has seen something they like with you, now this is your time to “sell” yourself and show them why you should be hired. Here are some tips to help you do that:
Research the company: Find out whatever you can about the company you will be interviewing with. This will allow you to make sure it is somewhere you would like to work, as well as help you with any questions you might have.
Practice: Yes, practice interviewing. You can do this a couple of ways. Get a friend to help you do a mock interview or practice alone in a mirror. Either way, practicing is important to help you feel comfortable talking about your skills as well as gather you’re thoughts on what to say.
Dress: You want to dress appropriately for the position and company you are interviewing for. Most of the times this will be business attire such as a suit, but can vary between industries. Avoid heavy colognes and perfumes, exposed tattoos, piercings (this means no earrings guys) and any other crazy or outrageous styles.
Be On Time: A good rule of thumb is to arrive a few minutes early (5 – 10 min.)
Relax and be natural: Just be yourself. Answer questions as honest and direct as possible. Be upbeat and positive.
Ask questions: An interview isn’t just for the employer; it is also a chance for you to make sure this is the right job for you. Make sure by asking questions.
Thank you: Be sure to thank the interviewer(s) for their time and thank them for the interview. Also ask when you might hear something. This way you won’t be sitting around for days or weeks wondering.
Review/Follow-Up: As soon as possible after the interview, go over it in your head and review what you thought went well and where you think there could have been improvements. If the amount of time passed from when they said you would hear something, follow up with a simple phone call. Don’t call every day; you don’t want to be an annoyance.
As you can see searching for and getting a job is a job within itself, but be confident, stay organized and most of all don’t give up. If you stick to your plan and use as many techniques as possible you will find the right job.