Times are very tough during the current economic downturn. Jobs are scarce and unemployment is sky high. Because of this, it is extremely important, now more than ever, to know how to properly manage your personal finances. Continue reading this article to secure your financial health by saving and making more money than you ever thought possible.

Always make sure that you’re reading the fine print on any financial contract like a credit card, home loan, etc. The way to keep your personal finances running in the black is to make sure that you’re never getting snagged up by some rate hikes you didn’t catch in the fine print.

To maximize the money in your wallet, try not to shop on an empty stomach. When you are hungry, you are more prone to an impulse purchase, given your higher levels of stress and anxiety. Additionally, you will usually spend money on fast food, which will add up over time.

To really save yourself some money, pay for everything in cash. Cash does not bounce, and when it is in your wallet, you always know how much money you have. Save yourself trips to the ATM though, as fees can eat up your money. Instead, get cash back at stores.

Cut out that unused land line. If you don’t talk on the phone much, a paid in advance cell phone could be significantly cheaper in the long run. Some mobile cell companies offer 1000 minutes of prepaid time for $100. This can last some people a year. For comparison, most land lines would cost $300 or more for that same year of service.

Think of your retirement while you can still help yourself. Open a 401(k), or Roth 401(k) retirement plan, or an IRA account to save money for your retirement years. Take advantage of your employer’s contribution as well, even if it is a smaller amount, it still represents free money for your golden years.

Never use your credit card for a cash advance. Just because your card offers it doesn’t mean you should use it. The interest rates on cash advances are extremely high and utilizing a cash advance will hurt your credit score. Just say no to the cash advance.

Before investing any money into anything, make sure that you have paid off all of your significant debts. You do not want to put any money into risky ventures while your debt is continuing to grow. Pay down those outstanding bills first, and then you can think about investing.

If you feel like the marketplace is unstable, the best thing to do is to stay out of it. Taking a risk with the money you worked so hard for in this economy is unnecessary. Wait until you feel like the market is more stable and you won’t be risking everything you have.

As was discussed earlier, the current economic downturn has created tough times for just about everyone. The unemployment rate is frighteningly high, and good jobs are hard to come by. Properly managing your personal finances can help protect you from going into debt and losing everything that you have worked so hard for. Take the information contained in this article and apply it to your life.