4 Habits of Financially Savvy People

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While having money to spend and invest can help you live the life you want, it's still vital to plan expenses carefully and keep saving for your goals. There are many ways to reduce the risk of eroding the wealth you're building -- to help you stay financially savvy and ensure the strength of your finances, we've put together important lessons we believe everyone should know about spending habits and saving wisely.

1. Live within your means

We can all agree it's fun to drive the latest car, especially if the lease or loan payments are within your budget. But if you're concerned with your long-term finances, we recommend opting for a car you can buy with cash, or less luxurious vehicles you can pay off more quickly. That might mean selecting a model that's a year or two old, as new cars depreciate when you drive them off the dealer's lot. The same goes for purchasing a house. Just because you qualify for a higher loan does not mean that you are obligated to use the full amount. Try finding a mortgage level that allows you to continue saving for future goals, which might be an early retirement or funding college for the kids or grandkids.

2. Never stop saving and investing

Although the stock market fluctuates and sometimes takes major hits, it has historically delivered an annual 7% return on investment. While investments are core to most people's portfolio, it's also a good idea to maintain your cash in a high yield savings account. We advise finding accounts that deliver savings rates above the national average. Finding an account to help reach your savings goals is easy online and several services offer comparison tools to assist your search. Instead of taking one large sum of cash each year to invest, automatically move money from each paycheck or on an automated schedule directly into the investments, so you don't even have to think about it. This "pay yourself first" approach is a great way to learn to live with the cash you have available while still saving and investing.

3. Look for deals

People with growing bank accounts still splurge on themselves, whether that means going on a luxurious vacation or fine dining but you don't have to pay full price to get the best experience. What can set you apart as a savvy spender is planning for a splurge by looking ahead for savings opportunities. Perhaps that means vacationing in the off-season when rates are lower, or renting a house at your destination and cooking for yourself instead of dining out at every meal. It is possible to attend popular concerts, performances, and amusement parks while still saving through discounts and coupons. Or, you can be financially savvy by avoiding premiums for services that are available for free. Try keeping your money in high-interest savings accounts to offer better returns without the associated fees.

4. Monitor your credit

You may already know that credit scores impact your interest rate when applying for a mortgage, car loan and even a credit card. But if you want to be savvy, we recommend checking your credit reports each year – using one of the free services like AnnualCreditReport.com. You can pull reports from all three major credit agencies, and you will want to ensure that your personal information and reporting provided is accurate. If there are mistakes, alert the agency to correct your report. This data is used to generate your credit score, and the higher the score, the better the rates available to you.

Learning financially savvy tactics is a smart way to keep building your current and future wealth. You don't need to sacrifice the finer things in life to save. We believe that simply paying attention to the details, making your money work for you and researching the best deals will make your money go even further.

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