It has been recently studied that during February, 2011 dismal sales forecasts were estimated in the retail stores as a large number of shoppers tightly held on to their disposable income due to the ballooning uncertainty and fears of the much talked-about recession. Though the rise in the consumer spending limit even raised talks of converting every empty shopping mall into community colleges, yet people kept flocking to malls and burning a hole in their wallets. There are various malls in the US that require all shoppers below the age of 18 to be accompanied by their parents so as to bring a restraint in their spending habits. No matter how much the US government tries to stop people from impulsive shopping and living a life beyond their means, they’re still poised to face a debt crunch if they don’t become cautious about their finances. Refraining yourself from visiting malls but continuously shopping online will not help you in staying on the right track.
Why should consumers prefer saving to spending?
According to the recent government data, fewer American consumers made unrestricted purchases in the month of December, 2011 and instead turned their attention to their high yield savings account. The average personal income of the American consumer rose by 0.7% to $14 trillion in December, 2011 from November, 2011, as per the Personal Income and Outlays Report issued by the Department of Commerce. In addition to the increase in their personal income, the consumer spending also declined by 0.2% during the same time as an increasingly large number of consumers stored their earnings into a savings account and this made the savings rate rise by 5%.
The US Commerce Department is of the opinion that the personal income of the American consumers saw a steep rise throughout 2011 as the salaries and wages gained strength. The financial experts even anticipate that the continued concern of the Obama administration to spur the job creation level will certainly compel growth in consumer confidence and personal income in order to see a better future in 2012.
Consumer spending – Do statistics show an erosion of confidence?
Reports reveal that the retail sales were sluggish in July and during a time of stock clearance in summer, there was a mild sale. Mild sale always implies positive consumer spending behavior as this shows that people haven’t spent as much as they were expected to. When it comes to economic recovery of a nation, consumer spending is an important part and the different consumer confidence surveys can certainly be utilized to rate consumer confidence and also foretell their behavior. There is no such erosion of confidence that is seen among the US consumers as they’re seen to work more in order to pay down credit card debt in order to multiply their savings rate before the nation hits another recession.
Analyze your financial fitness and stay equipped against all odds – Some tips
Whether or not you’re financially prepared, the financial market will follow its own logic and rules. So before you plan your next vacation or wrap the gifts for your next big occasion, determine your financial fitness. Ask yourself, “Am I financially equipped enough to weather any kind of odds?” If answered no, here are some tips to follow.
- Negotiate with your banker before signing any deal: Majority of the consumers believe that they can immediately walk away from their bank when it introduces new checking fees. A report produced in August, 2011 showed that 68% consumers switched banks in order to escape the burden of charges. However, before you walk out of your bank, ensure whether anything can be negotiated. Before signing on any deal, you should bargain with your banker so that you can settle on the best deal and don’t require changing banks often.
- Purchase a home when you’re at the top of your finances: There are numerous mortgage applications that may fail due to mistakes that you commit while applying for the loan. Therefore, you should apply for a home loan only when you’re at the top of your finances and when the mortgage rates are low enough. If you unnecessarily delay while taking out a loan, this may kill the deal and you may be left with no other choice. Scan all your information so that you don’t fool yourself.
- Keep checking your credit report: This is the age of identity theft and if you don’t keep checking your credit report, you may see one fine day that your score has dropped badly due to purchases not made by you. Would you want to be victimized in this manner? Certainly not! Pull out a copy of your credit report in short intervals so that you know the mistakes that are hurting the score. Dispute all the erroneous information and make it error-free.
- Invest carefully: When it comes to personal finance management, you must be wondering about the pros and cons of investment. Well, investment can certainly be a lucrative way of making money but with a single wrong step, you can fall into a huge mess. Therefore, do your bit of homework so that you can easily take the best decision about maximizing your returns and minimizing your losses.
- Shop around before taking out loans: Nowadays most people require loans in order to meet their financial needs. If you’re into the habit of selecting the loan that you come across initially, you have to change this habit as this will undoubtedly lead to a bad decision. You have to make a comprehensive market research about the various loan offers by getting quotes from different lenders and then choosing the one that best meets your needs.
- Use credit cards smartly: Advising you to stop using your credit cards may not make you happy enough. Instead be a smart user of your cards. Use a single card at a time and avoid making just the minimum monthly payments, shopping over the credit utilization ratio and making late payments on your cards. Whip your plastics only when you’re in an urgent financial situation and when you don’t have enough cash to buy something that you need.
- Save money aggressively: The ultimate secret to living a debt free life is to save money aggressively. The financial analysts are of the opinion that one should save at least 10% of what they earn in a month so that they can build an emergency fund that can become beneficial during times of debt crunch. Irrespective of what you earn, you should be able to save at least 10% to see your funds growing.
Avoid committing these personal finance blunders
Yes, though you may feel unnecessary to go through some of the personal finance blunders as you’re already equipped with some of the best tips, yet, pay attention! Frivolous spending, living on borrowed money, never-ending payments, buying a new car when you can do without it, buying too much house that is beyond your affordability, treating your home equity as your piggy bank and living paycheck to paycheck are some of the most common blunders that people commit while managing money. Always keep in mind the cumulative consequence of committing the aforementioned mistakes.
Take immediate action – Get help from the personal finance software
We all know that managing our personal finances is a complicated task when you have money coming in and going out every other day. Hereby, if you use the personal finance software, you can go for a more organized manner of personal finance management. Organized efforts will always save your time and energy and hence if you can invest some time in feeding the purchase and paychecks, you can forget the hassles of managing your money on your own. This software will let you know where your pennies are going and you can also locate the loopholes of your budget and reduce expenses.
Steer yourself away from all those habits that can take a toll on your personal finances. Ensure seeking help of a financial advisor so as to be able to take the best financial moves that can assist you in leading a stress-free life.