In today’s difficult economic times, everyone is looking for ways to improve their personal financial situation.
The key to successfully managing your personal finances, is knowledge. This article is jam-packed with tips and advice that, if applied correctly, will help you to get a handle on your personal finances and upgrade your life.

If your employer matches your 401k contributions, maximize your contributions to take advantage of this “free” retirement money. You do not pay taxes on the money you contribute until after you start drawing it as income, so you are actually reducing your tax load in the short term by investing more for the long term.

A great personal finance tip is to be conscious of how much water you’re using each month. A lot of folks take water for granted on a daily basis and often forget how much running that water will cost at the end of the month. Keeping water intake down can save a lot of money.

Being a smart shopper can enable one to catch onto money pits that can often lurk in store aisles or on the shelves. An example can be found in many pet stores where animal specific products will often consist of the same ingredients despite the animal pictured on the label. Finding things such as this will prevent one from buying more than is needed.

Whenever you get a windfall such as a bonus or a tax return, designate at least half to paying down debts. You save the amount of interest you would have paid on that amount, which is charged at a much higher rate than any savings account pays. Some of the money will still be left for a small splurge, but the rest will make your financial life better for the future.

Get a piggy bank and put a few dollars in it every week and forget about it. Make that your fun money. After a few months, use it to have a nice, fun night out. That way, you won’t feel guilty about having a night of entertainment because the money was already removed from your budget and accounted for.

Cut up unnecessary credit cards. Keep one or two cards for everyday purchases and get rid of the rest. Certain cards charge you an annual fee and too many cards on your credit report will be a red flag. As long as you make timely payments on one or two cards and keep a low balance, it will reflect well on your credit report.

If you are accustomed to paying your bills by mail, it is optimal to switch to online bill pay. Every bill that you send out by mail will cost you 40-50 cents with postage. Pay online so you do not have to worry about this fee in your daily and weekly expenses.

As it was mentioned at the top of this article, as far as the economy goes, things are not looking particularly great right now. Many people in this country are going through financial difficulties. By studying the knowledge and information contained in this article, and applying it to your situation, you can improve your personal finances.