You are considering a program of personal finance. What are your long-term and short-term goals? Are you planning for retirement or just for a nice vacation next summer? Once your goal is clear, you have to get very practical. How much money is coming in? What are the risks and rewards of a given plan?

If you are planning a major trip, consider opening a new credit card to finance it that offers rewards. Many travel cards are even affiliated with a hotel chain or airline, meaning that you get extra bonuses for using those companies. The rewards you rack up can cover a hotel stay or even an entire domestic flight.

Keep an emergencey supply of money on hand to be better prepared for personal finance disasters. At some point, everyone is going to run into trouble. Whether it is an unexpected illness, or a natural disaster, or something else that is terrible. The best we can do is plan for them by having some extra money set aside for these types of emergencies.

College education can be very expensive, academic scholarships can be a huge help in financing your education. Academic scholarships are awarded for excelling in school. Those who receive academic scholarships had an acceptable GPA, excelled in their studies, and the college would like that individual to continue studying at their school.

To avoid debt, you should keep your credit balance as low as possible. You might be tempted to accept the offer you qualify for, but you should borrow only as much money as you actually need. Spend some time to determine this exact amount before you accept a loan offer.

Hiring a credit repair company can help you with some of the legwork involved in cleaning up your credit report, but beware of shady companies that make false or misleading claims. These companies may allege that you can start fresh with a clean credit report by using an Employee Identification number (EIN) rather than your Social Security number. However, they neglect to tell you that requesting an EIN from the IRS for this reason is a federal crime.

Rewards credit cards are a great way to get a little extra something for the stuff you buy anyways. If you use the card to pay for recurring expenses like gas and groceries, then you can rack up points for travel, dining or entertainment. Just make sure to pay this card off at the end of each month.

Avoid buying new gadgets as soon as they come out. As we have all seen recently with some of the hottest new products, the price tends to come down within the first 6 months of release. Don’t jump on the train to buy your new toy at release, and you’ll save yourself a bundle.

Always put away money to save first when you get paid. Saving the money that is “leftover” will leave you with zero savings. Taking that money out first saves you from the temptation of spending it on something less important.

If you must get a credit card to manage your finances, try for a no-fee rewards card. While credit cards can easily cause more damage than do good, a rewards card will at least give you something back for the money you spend on it. Don’t be tempted to overspend to earn those rewards, though.

If you have a parent or other relative with good credit, consider repairing your credit score by asking them to add you an authorized user on their card. This will immediately bump up your score, as it will show up on your report as an account in good standing. You don’t even actually have to use the card to gain a benefit from it.

Make sure you pay your utility bills and house payments on time, every month. These are top priority payments to make and you will avoid late fees by making a payment by the due date. Utility companies are also known to report late payments to credit reporting agencies, which can affect your credit.

After reading these tips you have probably already sketched out a plan in your mind for achieving your goal. If that goal is a trip to the French Alps next summer, you will have checked out airfares and hotels. Whatever the goal, practical planning now will enable you to achieve it.

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