Here are 10 tips for setting out on a new economic journey:
Saving allows for financial freedom. Saving allows us to fulfill a dream, buy what we want and need, and cope better with unexpected expenses. It is important to save money in order to prepare for future large expenses, such as college and weddings, or for changes in income without going into overdraft. Put aside something small today and make it easier for yourself tomorrow.
Say no to loans
Do you have overdraft in the bank? You’re not alone! Paamonim’s recent survey revealed that one out of every three Israelis took out a loan this past year- the majority of which were to cover their overdraft in the bank. Loans have become a countrywide epidemic. Advertisements, phone calls and even text messages from the bank have flooded our senses. However tempting the offers may seem, loans put us at high risk for worsening financial matters, especially if monthly payments can’t be met. Before taking a loan, check whether it’s absolutely necessary.
Before you accept your first bank offer and choose your satellite, cellular and internet provider, shop around and compare prices from different companies. Be sure that you’re getting the best service for the best possible price.
Read the fine print
Check the dates of the sale, ask if a price includes transport and assembly, read the conditions written on coupons, and find out what the terms of cancellations include before you rush into buying anything. Never sign a document without understanding all of the repercussions first.
Shop wisely- always go with a list, compare prices for similar products at different supermarkets, and always check the number on your meter for electricity, water and gas in order to compare it with the number written on your bill.
Open all messages from the bank and from your pension fund, whether they reach you by hard mail or by email. Many people disregard the mail they receive from these providers because they don’t fully understand the statements. You can only begin to understand once you pay attention, and those that do check their bills thoroughly find an excess of what can be unimaginable amounts every so often!
Prime rates, linking mortgage rates, time deposit accounts, maturity rates and interest rates- the list of banking conditions and terms goes on and on, and we have no idea what any of it means. Ask your bank clerk to explain the details so that you can manage your bank account intelligently. Knowing the status of your account and the various payment methods available to you will help you avoid serious overdraft.
Our first reaction when we see a sign that reads, “end of the season sale” is to take out our wallets. Consider first whether you need the item or want it and determine whether or not the discount is actually worth the investment.
Don’t throw – buy less
According to the Ministry of the Environment, almost half of the garbage in Israel consists of edible food. We often dump out products before they expire and throw away half eaten plates of food or dinner leftovers. Eliminate the need to throw away edible products by simply buying less.
Check your rights
Always make sure you know what rights you’re entitled to- whether from the government or the workplace. Do you deserve a tax refund from the IRS? Are you entitled to your pension fund from an old job? Organize all relevant contracts and documents and inquire whether you are eligible for funds.
Important to remember: cutting expenses is one way to begin your journey towards economic independence. But don’t forget about the second essential factor: increasing income. Some people increase revenue because cutting expenses was not enough to reach budget balance, while others decide to earn a vacation, a new car or merely to save more for the future. Either way, increasing income is definitely a factor to consider on the road to financial independence.