Many people believe that once you get in debt, you can never get out. This simply is not true. Understanding how to get out of debt and keep yourself out are important means for any person. This article will help to teach you how to control your personal finances and help to make you more confident in your decisions.

Keep track of debit card purchases. Always make a note on paper or your phone as soon as you swipe that card so that you do not forget. Debit cards are very convenient, but also make it easy to overspend a budget, and unless you keep a record it is way too easy to overdraw a bank account without realizing it.

Purchasing clothing at a consignment store or thrift store instead of a department store can save you a lot of money. Many people are under the assumption that there is something wrong with clothing from these stores; that is simply not the case. Most of these items are brand new or gently used.

Be willing to substitute goods. For example, the canned tuna that is the store brand at my local grocery store has just about the same amount of meat, drained weight, as the Chicken of the Sea brand name cans of tuna. But it only costs half the price. That makes tuna surprise a lot cheaper.

Be energy efficient! Change all of the light bulbs in your home to CFL lights, use energy efficient appliances, even if you have to buy new ones! This will save you money on your electric bill and perhaps even get you tax credits when tax season rolls around! Check tax laws to find out!

One of the most important things a consumer can do in today's economy is be financially smart about credit cards. In the past consumers were allowed to write off interest on their credit cards on their tax return. For some years now this has no longer been the case. For this reason, the most important habit consumers can have is pay off as much of their credit card balance as possible.

Don't get whacked by insane ATM fees. If you use an ATM that is not run by your bank, you may find that you are actually charged two fees: an "access" fee from the bank that runs the ATM, and an "out-of-network ATM" fee from your own bank. Added together, these fees can exceed $5.

Retirement Planning

Create an up to date financial plan. This will allow you to see how you are doing in all areas of your finances. Review any insurance plans, income taxes, estate and retirement planning, investments, savings and current debts. Be specific in your goals and be realistic. For more complex financial planning, it is a good idea to seek the services of a CPA.

Financial Planning

To make a realistic budget for financial planning purposes, start where you are, not where you want to be. Track every penny for a month, but do not be immediately self-conscious about it. Get receipts for everything and keep them in a box. At the end of a month, you can sort them all out and see exactly what your spending is like. That is your budget, and it is easier to tweak when you are unemotional and honest.

To have long-term success in financial planning, consider debt investment opportunities. If you have a student loan at 2% interest but you can get a 2.75% savings rate in a bank account, it makes more financial sense in the long run to make the minimum monthly payments, while saving up a lump sum to pay it off entirely. Conversely, any debt with an interest rate higher than a savings interest rate should get priority.

As was stated earlier in the article, knowing that you can get out and stay out of debt is an important key to any person's success. This article has offered you a multitude of tips, meant to help you control your financial life. Apply these tips to become more confident and comfortable with your financial decisions.

Author's Bio: 

Having debt is a burden many individuals carry and would like to get rid of so that they can continue working on their financial plan. To find help developing a strategy to get rid of your debt, visit Decision Tree Financial for more information.