The 54 Best Personal Finance Tips of 2014
It’s that time again my friends. The year is ending and a new one beginning. This year has been epic for myself and my family. Our son turned two this year and it’s been great to watch him grow up. While I don’t look forward to the tantrums and wild mood swings as he approaches three, we will get through it. My wife and I moved into a new home after selling our old one pretty quickly. I have been working very hard to improving the house we purchased and making into our own. It takes a lot of work, but I love DIY. My business is growing steadily and I’m excited about that. I’m slowly making a name for myself in the WordPress tech arena and that is something I want to grow more in 2015. Debt Roundup had the best year and it far surpassed my wildest dreams. I never imagined what this blog would have grown into when I started back in August of 2012. It’s been amazing.
As with every year so far, I have reached out to some of the brightest personal finance bloggers to bring you their best personal finance tips for 2014. They did not disappoint, that’s for sure. I didn’t know what to expect, but they came through and delivered 54 tips for you. I started this in 2012 and continued it last year. I plan on doing it every year if I can help it. This is great way to highlight the other bloggers in this field and share ideas to help others get their finances in order. 2015 is a new year and you can use these tips to get you on track. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to fight debt or grow wealth. Either of them are achievable and I hope these tips will help.
I’m not including my tip into the count of tips, but mine is simple and easy to digest. If you are in debt, don’t wait to come up with a solution on how you will pay it off. Start now! Seriously, do whatever you can to pay down your debt, consolidate it, or whatever. Just saying you will do something is not enough anymore. Take action today and start on the path toward financial independence. This new year can be your year!
Without further ado, here are the best personal finance tips of 2014!
To make this a little easier, I divided up the tips into categories. Use the links below to go to any category you choose, or scroll down and read all of them.
|Credit Tips||Debt Tips||Investing Tips||Making Money Tips||Saving Tips||Wealth Building Tips||Other Financial Tips|
Kurt Fischer from My Money Counselor said:
For this year’s tip, I’m picking on one of my main pet peeves as a personal finance blogger: payday loans. In short, STAY AWAY FROM THEM! Borrowing money at APRs approaching 600% makes it awfully tough to get ahead! Better to eat Kraft Dinner every day for 2 weeks than to pay a $69 fee to borrow $300 for 2 weeks!
Lance Cothern from Money Manifesto said:
Use your credit score to make some money! If you can handle credit cards without overspending or going into debt, take advantage of sign up bonuses on credit cards to fund your hobbies or vacations. My wife and I personally used credit cards to take an almost free five day Carnival cruise!
Brian from Luke1428 said:
If you are having trouble spending more than you make and continually carrying debt on your credit card, consider moving to a debit card. A debit card serves as a restrictor plate on your spending. With a debit card you can only spend money that is actually in your bank account, thus never going into debt. When my wife and I made the switch our spending decreased dramatically and our savings rate skyrocketed.
Natalie Bacon from The Finance Girl said:
You have a responsibility to yourself and to your family to take control of your finances and build a strong financial foundation. This begins by getting out (and staying out) of debt, followed by building an emergency fund. If you can do these two things, you’re on your way to achieving financial success.
Kassandra from More than Just Money said:
If you are paying down consumer debt, don’t do it to the complete exclusion of saving for retirement. Leaving employer matching contributions (free money!) on the table would be a financial sin in my book. Contribute the minimum required to at least get the matched amount. If you don’t get this employer benefit, keep up with the habit of regular savings even if you decide to temporarily reduce your contribution amount until you are debt free.
Hayley from Disease Called Debt said:
If you want to get out of debt as fast as possible, then paying more than the minimum payments on your debts is an absolute must. My financial tip is about overpaying your debts weekly rather than monthly or every now and then. By making weekly over-payments towards your debts (even if it’s just a little amount each time), you’ll be starting to create good financial habits. In addition, you won’t feel quite so bad if you’re tempted to impulse buy during the course of a month – because you’ll have already been proactive in getting your debt paid off.
Cat from The Red Debted Stepchild said:
In order to pay off debt, you have to start thinking of yourself as different from everyone else. Most people will go their whole lives wanting more and more and going into debt to do it. Separate yourself from the norm, close yourself off to those who seem to “have it all”, and you’ll be free to focus on and successfully finish your own debt journey.
Toni Husbands from Debt Free Divas said:
Post your budgets. When embarking on a process to dump debt, you’ll need to stay focused. Having a daily, visual reminder keeps the goal in mind. Post a copy of your monthly budget on the refrigerator or a closet – some place you visit regularly – and use this trick to help you stay on task.
Melanie from Dear Debt said:
To pay off debt, round your payments up and make biweekly payments. In addition, start a side hustle to make extra money — even one or two extra hours a week of work can help you pay off debt faster.
Rich Uncle EL from Money Watch 101 said:
The Pay Debt Now (PDN) method, -basically you want to send as much money as you can on the smallest balance as frequently as possible. When the money is present send any amount you can immediately, do not wait till the due date, because I’ve notice idle money gets wasted. (This system works best with online bill pay) The point is to be debt free right, so if you made an extra 50 dollars in overtime this week, send it immediately, as it will give you tremendous traction toward becoming debt free. Every little bit counts and the more you send the more you save on interest and time.
Michael from Student Loan Sherpa said:
When you have debt, you are fighting a daily battle against interest. Don’t wait until the bill is due, if you have the money, pay it now. Waiting is just putting more money is the pockets of your lenders. This means that paying when you get your paycheck is a better option than an automatic monthly payment.
Marie Hickman said:
Create a paper list or spreadsheet with “buckets” of items that can get out of hand: groceries, dining out, clothing, online. Head each one with a strict weekly dollar limit. Turn it into a ledger in which you deduct from the balance each time you spend in that category. When you’re at $0 you must stop spending.
The Roamer from Traveling Wallet said:
Getting Married? Don’t let debt become your last wedding present. By focusing on what is important: the marriage and love. You can have an amazing wedding that emphasizes all the right things! The best Wedding is one without DEBT!
Petrish from Debt Free Martini said:
The first step to becoming financially fit is to change your mindset. Realize that for a lot of people, living with debt is a choice. Change your living habits, make better choices, veto the keeping up with the Joneses mentality, and choose to live debt free.
Deacon from Well Kept Wallet said:
The difference between rich people and poor people is that wealthy people buy income producing assets while poor people tend to buy depreciating assets. If you want to be wealthy, you need to focus on investing in opportunities that will provide you income while avoiding assets that lose value, like a new car. For example, buying a used car will allow you to have more income each month and will also help you avoid the loss of money that most people experience when purchasing a new vehicle.
Katie Brewer from Your Richest Life Planning said:
Avoid getting in over your head with a house payment! Take time upfront to figure out exactly how much that shiny new house payment will cost with taxes, insurance, HOA and maintenance costs. Keep your fixed expenses below 50% of your take-home pay. Bonus points if you can keep your fixed expenses even lower, like 30%. Your future you will thank you!
Ryan from Debt Free Hustle said:
Deciding you want to be debt free and putting your plan on paper is the easy part. The hard part comes in the years that follow when money is tight and there’s no end in sight. That’s when your patience will be tested and will be the pivotal point in your journey. Take a step back, get away, read your old writings, talk with your support team; just do anything that will help you realize you are closer than you think.
Jon from Novel Investor said:
The best investing tip I can give is advice someone gave me – make investing required learning. Take the time to get smarter every day about investing your money. Pick out a book or a blog, read it, and repeat. Never stop learning, because knowledge, like money, compounds over time.
Barbara Friedberg from Barbara Friedberg Finance said:
To all investors. Don’t look at your financial investment account statements more than once a month (or less). And whatever you do, don’t jump in and out of the markets. Less is more when it comes to investing, and the traders suffer worse returns than those who choose an asset allocation and stick to it, through thick and thin.
Big Cajun Man from Canajun Finances said:
Never let older family members meet with “financial advisors” without someone to help them understand the jargon used. One friend had an 80 year old family member who was signed up for a margin account (and had buys set up with it).
Joseph Hogue from Peer Loans said:
Diversify across different types of investments (not just stocks and bonds). Real estate and commodities hold their value against inflation. Peer loans are becoming a popular and high-yield investment. Even artwork can provide returns while you enjoy its beauty for years.
John from Wise Dollar said:
Don’t let lack of funds to keep you back from starting to invest now. Look at your budget and see what you can cut or find ways to bring in extra income to start investing with. Even if it’s only $50 per month that will help get you started towards saving for retirement and building wealth. You may feel like it’s too little to start with, but simply starting with something small is much better than not starting at all!
Jon from Money Smart Guides said:
When it comes to investing, you have to pay attention to the fees you are paying. Mutual funds and ETFs charge management fees which you never get a bill for. Over time, these fees can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. By investing in low fee funds, you keep more of your hard earned money.
Todd Tresidder from Financial Mentor said:
Investing done right is about process, not product. If you’re not clear what that means, just think about this… we all have access to the same investment products, but we’ll all produce massively different investment results. The difference has to be the investment process since everyone has the same investment products to pick from.
But when was the last time your investment advisor taught you about investment process?
Robert from The College Investor said:
Automate your investing to make it easy on yourself. Setup automatic direct deposits each month into your investing account or setup an automated plan such as Sharebuilder to do it for you. If you automate your investments, you’ll do it!
Jason Butler from The Butler Journal said:
Do what others won’t do. Whether it’s working two jobs or selling items online make your money. You will eventually reap the benefits.
The Financial Samurai said:
It’s much more important to focus on building net worth vs. growing income. Income comes and goes, but net worth is here for the long term. You see plenty of people with large incomes, but nothing to show for it after many years. Once you change to a net worth mindset, your wealth will really take off!
Cat Alford from Budget Blonde said:
Making money should never be a passive practice. If you have always dreamed of making more money from your current job or more money from your side business, you’ve got to gear up and act like you’re going to war. Too many people dream of increasing their income but aren’t ready for the battle. It’s a challenge mostly against yourself but stay motivated. With enough perseverance, hustling, and cups of coffee, you CAN make it happen.
Michelle Schroeder from Making Sense of Cents said:
Work towards making extra money! If you want to reach a big financial goal or if you are trying to reach something quickly, then making extra money can make that possible. I paid off $40,000 worth of student loans just one year after I graduated with my MBA, almost all due to my side hustle efforts.
The Rideshare Guy said:
Always look for ways to diversify your income. I started driving for Uber and Lyft on the side and I ended up loving it. Some people like to choose hobbies where they spend a lot of money. But for me, there’s nothing better than finding a hobby or something that I enjoy where I get to make money!
Jon from Penny Thots said:
To make more money, look into starting your own business on the side. But before you dive in head first, be sure to do your homework to see if the business will make you any money. You don’t want to pour a lot of money and sweat into something that has not shot at becoming a reality.
Blackbeard’s Wyfe said:
Pack your lunch everyday. Saves both money and calories.
SB from One Cent at a Time said:
The crux of personal finance is in the ability to manage your spending and income in such a way that income takes the lead and always stays ahead of expenses.
Because only when you save, your future becomes brighter and you get a good night sleep.
Jon Rhodes from Affiliate Help said:
Raise your own chickens. That way you have a cheap and constant supply of top quality organic eggs and chicken meat. Consider it a hobby that pays!
Natalie from Budget and the Bees said:
Seek balance in your financial situation; being at the extreme end of anything can be problematic. Trying to save every penny and feeling guilt over necessary purchases can be emotionally destructive. Spending without regard for the future, on the other hand, is equally dangerous. Track your spending and grow your savings, but allow yourself fulfilling purchases that add meaning or joy to your life.
Dee from Color Me Frugal said:
Keep a lid on your living expenses by thinking very carefully before you do anything that will increase your baseline monthly costs. This would include getting a new mortgage, car loan, gym membership, cable subscription, etc. The lower you keep your household’s monthly overhead, the more you’ll have to save and invest for your future!
Marie Hickman said:
Keeping your tires inflated properly is one of the easiest ways to save on the high cost of gasoline. It’s especially important this time of year, as cold weather can cause under-inflation.
Kate Dore from Cashville Skyline said:
Save until it hurts!
Shannon from Financially Blonde said:
Pay attention to the details. We all would like to see big changes in our money; however, if we focus on the little things, big things will start to happen.
Jason Vitug from Phroogal said:
Use the Purposeful Savings Strategy that infuse mindfulness into achieving our savings goals. We save because we desire to buy things or experiences. Think of savings goals as purchases you have made on layaway. Instead of instant gratification you prolong the period to the actual purchase relying on the “anticipation” of a payout or reward.
Aaron Crowe from Cash Smarter said:
After cutting the cable TV cord, plug it back into the TV. Sometimes the cable company won’t cut the service and you’ll still be able to get basic channels for free.
Mrs. Frugalwoods from Frugal Woods said:
Every frugal tip in the world isn’t going to save as much money as simply not buying anything. And that is why I didn’t buy any clothes in 2014, even if they were used, on sale, or otherwise dirt cheap!
Lauren from Finding Wall Street said:
If you don’t think you can save for an emergency fund, take another look at your budget. Try to tweak it to make room. Finding your own financial priorities is a balancing act that will take many attempts.
John Green from Build Financial Freedom said:
Spend as much time finding new ways to make money as you do finding new ways to save. Invest the extra income and watch your wealth grow!
Derek from Life and My Finances said:
Seek out a financial mentor – someone that has wealth (not fancy cars and big houses bought on credit, real wealth) and would be willing to teach you how they achieved it. This can be difficult to find at times since many of the wealthy do not flaunt it, but once you find your mentor you will have a guiding light and a accountability partner – two incredibly priceless tools in your journey to wealth.
Liz Crest from Budgeting for More said:
Pay yourself first. That’s the only piece of financial advice that I ever received from my Grandpa (who I would consider very financially savvy). Consistent, long-term savings will do wonders for your nest egg.
Kenny from Rocking Real Estate said:
According to Thomas J. Stanley of the Millionaire Next Door, “If you’re not yet wealthy but want to be someday, never purchase a home that requires a mortgage that is more than twice your household’s total annual realized income.”
As a licensed CPA and Realtor, I recommend this philosophy to my clients above all others.
Stefanie from The Broke and Beautiful Life said:
Challenge everything- from the way you shop for groceries to how much you earn each week. There are always new and better ways to maximize your money so you can enjoy more of it!
Donny Gamble from Personal Income said:
Get out of the house! Everyone should join at least one mastermind group, as it has done wonders for growing my business, but also has increased my network. Your network is your net worth and you are only six degrees of separation from that one relationship that can change your life.
Reeta Wolfsohn from Financial Social Work said:
1. Make friends with your money: it’s not your enemy.
2. Take control of your money to gain control of your life.
3. When your money works hard for you, you don’t have o work as hard for it.
Kelly Whalen from The Centsible Life said:
Laser focus on finances doesn’t work for everyone, myself included. Life throws too many things at us financially to make it so simple. From home repairs that are necessary to medical issues that are unexpected there will be things that take precedence over your savings goals some months. Every once in awhile it makes sense to intentionally put those goals aside to have experiences and time with your family, too.
Chris from Wallet Impact said:
My tips is to start a progress chain. A progress chain works by completing an action an every day or every week and the goal is to see how long you can go without breaking the chain. For example, I have a weekly budgeting progress chain so I review my budget and keep it updated. I find this to be very helpful in times when I can’t stay motivated to keep going.
Jackie from The Debt Myth said:
Budgeting your money is almost exactly the same as budgeting your time. You can’t do everything at once, but you CAN do what’s most important to you.
Real Life Money said:
Spend lots of time with people who are serious about moving forward with their money and lives. It will give you all kinds of inspiration, ideas and put a fire under your rear!
Don’t know where to find those people? Online communities are a great place to start!
Wow, I want to thank everyone who contributed to this massive list. There are 54 really great tips on here and I'm sure they will really help those out looking for advice in the new year. It doesn't matter what you try to accomplish. If you put your mind to it, you can do it. 2015 doesn't have to be the year where you can't get control of your finances. With these tips, you can not only get control of your finances, but kill your debt, grow your wealth, make more money, and invest. What's stopping you? The tools and information are all right here!
What do you think about these tips? Please share this post with your friends, family, and anyone who you think will benefit from it. Here's to closing out 2014 on a high note!