By Ellie Kay, Personal Finance Expert
How would you like to live debt free, take vacations and live in a comfortable home? My husband and I were able to dig out of $40K in consumer debt on one military income by learning how to be savvy savers.
Every family can be free from the worry of money and become savvy savers for a successful retirement by following these simple financial tips.
It’s critical for every person to improve their FICO scores. These scores determine not only the APR you pay on a home or car loan, but they also impact auto insurance premiums and might even impact if you get a promotion. Improve your FICO in three easy steps:
- Pay Early – Set up automatic payments online.
- Pay More – Add $5 to $10 more than the minimum balance that is due, this indicates you are paying down debt.
- Pay Proportionally – Also known as credit utilization – the idea is to make sure that you don’t have more than 50% of the available credit charged on any one card at any time. For example, a card with a $5K limit should never have more than $2,500 charged.
It only takes minutes to save hundreds of dollars. Once you save money in one area, use those funds to pay down consumer debt, build-up a savings account or grow your retirement fund.
- Auto Insurance – Once a year, compare policies by getting a variety of quotes. Take the cheaper price back to your existing provider to negotiate a better deal.
- RetailMeNot – Download the RetailMeNot app or bookmark it on your computer. This is a code site that offers 400,000 coupon codes at any given time. Just enter the store’s name and you’ll see all the codes to get the better prices.
- CouponMom.com – Extreme couponing has served me well for years. If you go to this site, she’s done all the work for you and will tell you what is on sale in your neighborhood, what coupons are out for the item and more. I calculated that over the course of twenty years, I saved our family over $160K!
- Budget Baby – If you don’t have a budget then yesterday was the day to start. I’ve gone into greater detail on my blog that relates to budgeting called Get a Money Buddy. The problem for a lot of families is the ability to stick to a budget so set up a “budget date” once a month with your spouse to revisit how the plan is working.
Savvy savers who are looking for smart retirement income and more control of their long-term finances understand the important role that fixed indexed annuities play in any balanced financial plan for their future. In my experience, I’ve seen that fixed indexed annuities offer certainty during uncertain times since they provide protection from stock market volatility. I believe that FIAs are best when used in addition to other retirement vehicles (such as a 401(k) or IRAs) to add balance to a retirement plan—they aren’t intended to be your only source of retirement income, but to help moderate risk in your portfolio.