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Financial Tip of the Week - Ways to Improve Your Finances

Source: Military Community and Family Policy (MC&FP) Weekly eNewsletter

  • Decide on your big goals. If you're having trouble putting your finger on it, ask the people who know you best. Brainstorming with your significant other, family members, and friends can help shake loose your own thoughts.
  • Automate your savings so you put away money each month. The most successful savers profiled in Generation Earn started by automatically saving a small percentage of their income.
  • Get rid of junk mail. The website lets retailers know which customers no longer want to receive their mail. Participating companies agree to stop sending any more catalogs within three months.
  • Keep a spending diary. Even if you just track every dollar you spend for two weeks, it will open your eyes to where your money goes and what you could cut back on. You might not realize that you spend $100 a week on lunches, or $100 a month of lattes.
  • Become a better cook. Invest in a few key pieces of hardware can help you cook better, faster, and cheaper. Anything that makes your food taste better and gets it on the table quickly can lessen the temptation to order budget-busting take-out.
  • Work with family members. Family members can help each other save. Adult children are increasingly living with their parents, but this arrangement doesn't have to be a burden if the adult children contribute to household costs or pay rent. You can also help out by gardening, doing housework, or sharing your computer skills.
  • Choose the best credit card for you. If you pay your balance off each month, you should have a card that gives you rewards points. If you carry debt, focus on getting the card with the lowest interest rate. Pick the one that fits you the best and stop using the other ones. Don't close them, though, because that can hurt your credit score.
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    Clean out your closet. Not only will you have a more organized space, but you probably have some valuable items-books, CDs, and games-that charity could make good use. Be sure to retain a record of what you give for next year's taxes.


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