FF tapped personal finance and debt management expert Clarky Davis, a.k.a. "The Debt Diva", to share some of her tips for getting finances in shape:
- Keep your credit in check! Remove your credit cards from your wallet and keep them at home in a safe place. Having easy access to credit can be too tempting for those who tend to make unplanned purchases.
- Use powerful plastic. To avoid overdrawing your checking account and paying hefty bank fees, consider getting a prepaid card. What’s different about a prepaid card is that it’s tied to a savings account (typically an online account) rather than a checking account. You can only spend the money available in your account. If you go over your balance, your charge will be denied and you won’t incur any fees.
- $20 life saver. Keep a $20 bill in your wallet at all times. You never know when you will need to hit a pharmacy or convenience store for a small purchase just to make it through the day.
- Pocket those receipts. Save the receipts from all purchases to track your spending and see where your money is going. This will help you keep your budget in check and make strategic purchasing decisions.
- Keep the change. You can build a healthy savings account from the spare change left in your purse at the end of the day. Starting small is the way to large gains, and it will get you in the habit of saving! Always keep the change from any purchase, and put it straight into your piggy bank when you return home.
- Rewards cards. No wallet is complete without rewards membership cards from vendors you frequent – particularly your grocery store. You should always keep those on hand for unexpected trips to pick up milk or eggs on the way home.
For those completely in the red, The Debt Diva is hosting a Great Money Makeover Contest for a chance to win a personalized debt relief plan. Submit your story by June 16.