Having excellent credit is essential for the budget-conscious layperson. Whether you’re buying a new car, applying for a home loan, or starting a new business, a fantastic credit score could mean the difference between landing your dream car/house/job and trudging home in defeat, empty-handed.
There are obvious ways to keep your credit high – paying bills on time, not maxing out credit cards, and so on. But there’s another lesser-known but simple way to boost your credit score, and it only takes a couple of minutes!
If you haven’t already, make your Roth IRA contributions for the 2014 tax year before April 15!
In contrast to other forms of retirement investments, Roth IRA is a taxable contribution; however, whereas traditional earnings from investments will be TAXED TO THE MAX, your earnings (which you can withdraw any time after age 59 1/2) will be TAX FREE. If you start young (in your 20s) and max out your Roth contributions every year, this sum will very likely be quite sizable – almost certainly in the millions, even at a conservative rate of growth. Also, when you retire, you will probably be in a higher tax bracket, meaning you’ll have to fork over more of your income to Uncle Sam. Chyeah right!
The annual maximum contribution in 2014 is $5,500 – although it may increase over the years as inflation goes up. Mere peanuts!
You can invest through your existing bank, or open a new account online easily. The “big three” are always good choices – T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, and Vanguard – but other investment firms can work just as well too. Their online apps will have a wealth of tools for research and forecasting, so you can make informed investments – or you can just go with their in-house advisors’ top picks. These are super old guys with decades of experience in their field; it’s hard to go wrong.
Dining out at restaurants is expensive. Like really expensive. Even if you go with “cheap” options like fast food, you are still spending at least 99 cents on a drink that costs less than a penny to make (about five-thousandths of a cent, to be exact). If you opt for more expensive offerings at dine-in restaurants, you can easily drop ten or twenty bucks (or more – especially if you order alcoholic beverages – more on that later).
The best way to save money on eating out is by… eating at home! Surprise! No really, wait, there’s more to this strategy.