I often discuss various financial tools on this site. Anything from locating the best free checking account to finding the best book to read for what you want to get into. These are tools that can help you greatly right now and for the future if used properly.
Instead of blindly throwing out the idea of financial tools, I wanted to look at my favorites. What are the most important financial tools?
Free checking account.
I remember getting nickel-and-dimed by my local bank a few years ago. The monthly charges along with the per use fees with my debit card/checking account were getting annoying. $15 a month really adds up. Especially as a college student. I eventually went it and requested a no-fee checking account. Losing change every month is simply not worth it. I got myself a free checking account and now I no longer have to worry about getting ripped off by by random banking fees. Now I just need to watch out for those ATM machines that try to charge like $3 per transaction.
I suggest that all of you find a free checking account if you already don’t have one. This is an important financial tool because this is the account where most of us get our payroll pay deposited and have our debit cards connected.
Online savings account.
Your online savings account is where you keep your hard earned money. I know that interest rates really suck right now. This doesn’t mean that you should ditch your savings account. Rates will get better eventually (I hope!). An online savings account is a great place to store your money and to plan for your financial goals. I keep all of my money with my ING Direct account. I use the sub-accounts to save for my various financial goals (trips and investments). I’m currently using ING Direct for both my checking and savings.
Your credit card.
Instead of listening to all of the credit card horror stories, you can use credit cards to your advantage. I personally use a basic cashback rewards credit card. I get some money back every year because I always book trips and put other major expenses on my credit card and then pay the balance off immediately.
At the moment I’m using the same credit card that I picked up when I turned 18 from my local bank. I find that it meets my requirements and I haven’t had any issues with it at all. There are many credit cards for college students that are a great starting point.
I know that those are three standard items that we don’t even think about in our daily lives. We rarely think about our credit card or the savings account that’s holding our money. I wanted to show you guys why financial tools are so important?
Save more money.
These three financial tools will allow you to save lots of money in the long run. How will you save money?
- A free checking account allows you to use checks, accept money, and make debit transactions. When you get a no-fee checking account you can do all of this for free.
- A savings account allows you to store your money in a safe place while interest accumulates. You essentially “set it and forget it” with your savings.
- If you get a cashback credit card and use your credit card WISELY, you can make some money at the end of the year.
Simplify your life.
Don’t you want to simplify your life? I may write about personal finance but I don’t want to think about MY money all day long. I know that my money is safe in my savigns account. I know that all of my bills are automated to go straight to my credit card. This has really allowed me to simplify my life. I no longer have to worry about paying bills on time.
Build for the future.
Your 20s are an ideal time to build for your future. My checking account allows me to get paid from my employer. My savings account allows me to save money for my many different financial goals. My credit card has helped me build my credit score over the years. These three financial tools are helping me build for my future.
What financial tools do you use? What tools have helped you out the most with your financial picture?
(photo credit: markusram)