Friday, January 23, 2009

Blackonomics part 2


It's your financial future. Take charge.

Stock downturns. Declining house market. These are things you don't have control over. But on the home front, it's another story. Here's a list that can help you get the year started off right:

Keep a record of where your money goes. Look at your spending over the past three months. Leave nothing out. And then, cut expenses where you can.

Change your energy consumption habits (turn your thermostat down five degrees and save 10% in fuel costs).

Watch what you spend for food (avoid frozen dinners - you'll be paying $300 a pound for those veggies on the side).

Try to establish an emergency savings fund that will cover three to six months of expenses.

Make sure your savings and checking accounts are FDIC-insured.

If you're facing a mortgage foreclosure, look into Hope for Homeowners (a federal program that can help refinance mortgages for borrowers who are having difficulty making their payments).

If you didn't qualify for the 2008 financial stimulus and your income has fallen dramatically, you could qualify for a "recovery rebate credit" on your 2008 tax return.

If you're a first-time homebuyer, look into the new tax credit from the IRS that can equal up to 10% of your home's purchase price, up to $7,500.

Amp up your 401(k) contributions if retirement is more than 10 years out (you should be putting away 10% to 15% of your income).

Clean up your own credit (get a free copy of your credit report and look carefully for incorrect, misreported or out-of-date information).
If anyone is interested in opening an ING savings account, they offer a $25 credit if you open it with $250 or more. There are no account minimums and unlimited withdrawals and transactions.. with a very competitive APY ...check it out..

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