Main piece of advice: Get a firm mattress — to store money in! End of story.
Just kidding. Saving for rainy days is a great rule of thumb. Think long-term. For example, before you buy that house or lease that car, think about where you will be in five years. Leasing a car means you will still have to pay it off before it’s yours. If you choose to buy, the cost may have been more comparable if you had just purchased the car originally. Having a house means insurance, property tax, repairs and more. But renting doesn’t invest your money into anyone’s pocket besides your landlords. There are many large and small decisions to consider in the scheme of the future.
Consumer Reports has five suggestions to avoid suffering from another recession:
1. Pay off high-interest debt first. When your credit card debt has an interest higher than savings, put the moola towards the card. If you don’t have serious debt, build your savings automatically by direct-depositing part of your income first into a tax-deferred retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA.
2. If you have the option to use a home equity loan, don’t close it. Save the equity money for emergency cases (ie. not family vacations or a big screen television).
3. Unless you have a significant balance in your 401(k) retirement account, don’t borrow from it. You stunt the growth from long-term savings. Also, not only are you required to pay the money back if you leave the job, but if you don’t pay it back within five years and are under the age of 59 1/2 you’ll be required to pay a 10 percent additional penalty.
4. Pay off, but don’t close the credit cards you don’t use. Credit bureaus look at your buying potential. So when close an account, you lower the ratio of debt to available credit that lenders and credit-scoring bureaus use, with other indicators, to gauge your creditworthiness.
5. When buying a big ticket item, focus on the payment not total cost.
Remember these tips and remember the ones who survive are the ones who plan ahead.