ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When it comes to money and finances, some people shut down.
They just don't want to hear about it or even talk about it. Probably because saving money seems complicated. But, October is national financial planning month, so we are going to talk about it.
But, there’s some easy information that can save you a lot of money. Here are three things you could do right away to save money.
1. Balance transfers – you might’ve gotten these annoying messages in your e-mail. It’s banks asking you to open up a credit card account and to transfer your debt from another bank over to theirs. Why? Because debt makes them money and they send you a special offer enticing to make the change. An offer such as 0% APR for 15 months, sometimes with a small transfer fee. As long as you avoid traps, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars using this tool.
“It's good to do that, that is the right thing to do. But, the next step is you've got to have a plan on how to eliminate that debt,” said Dennis and Kim Briggs with Briggs Wealth Management of Raymond James.
2. Rewards credit cards – credit cards with benefits can be dangerous tools that cause you to need a balance transfer in the first place. But, if used correctly, you reap the benefits without falling into debt and negating the reason why you got rewards in the first place. Lots of cards offer cash back and flight mileage points for using them. As long as you pay them off every month, you can enjoy the benefits. But, Kim and Dennis say most people don’t use them correctly and fall into debt, so it’s best to use cash.
"The masses worry about the points. What the minority of people do, the right thing to do is to use cash to buy a lot of things and you can get better deals on it. People spend less money that use cash versus credit cards, it's so easy just to whip that credit card out and spend it on something," Dennis said.
3. Setting up retirement with 401 (k) – a 401 (k) is the preferred retirement savings plan for many employees through their job, but these can be risky investments if you don’t pay attention to them. The younger you are, the more risky they can be, but you want to monitor them every year and talk to a professional about how to manage them.
“A lot of people, when they get their investments that are available in their plan, they don’t know what to do. They really need to talk to a professional that can help them figure out how much risk they are really willing to take and then position their investments in their 401 (k) to match that,” Kim said.
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