We’re always looking for ways to save money and stretch our dollars to their fullest potential. There is plenty of advice out there on where to cut corners, but sometimes it’s actually better to bite the bullet and fork over the extra cash now to save in the long run. Some expenses are annoying, but are solid investments in our future. So the idiom goes: penny wise and pound foolish. Here are five financial corners you should never cut.
Insurance is an important financial safeguard against accidents. First, auto insurance is important because car accidents can cause expensive automobile damage and physical injuries. If you cause a 10-car pile-up without insurance, your bill for property damage and medical injuries could force a bankruptcy. Paying the insurance premium is much cheaper than just banking on your driving skills and hoping for an accident-free life.
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Second, health insurance works the same way. Medical bills can quickly add up and lead to significant debt, which is why it’s important to have coverage before you get sick. Additionally, health insurance actually promotes good health habits because you’re more likely to go to the doctor for routine checkups. Third, home insurance will cover the cost of damage to your house and belongings in the event of a natural disaster or accident, like a pipe bursting in the winter. You should get the gist: By surrendering the money now, you will pay far less later.
2. Medical Care
Poor or deferred medical care is like gambling with your life. The United States has some of the best hospitals and doctors in the world, so take advantage of these resources. Competent doctors are able to provide thorough screening during checkups, catch illnesses and diseases before they become life threatening, and monitor your overall health. Poor medical care can even be more expensive for two reasons. First, you could be misdiagnosed, which racks up expensive and unnecessary bills. Second, an unqualified physician could overlook a warning sign about a health concern, which could cost you your life. Next time you look to WebMD for quick medical answers, pick up the phone and call your doctor. Even if it’s minor, it’s worth the time and copay.
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3. Credit Card Bills
Credit card responsibility is an important personal finance lesson that can be learned the hard way by incurring overwhelming debt. To avoid the stress of debt, pay your credit card bill in full each month. If you decide to just pay the minimum, you will be slammed with exorbitant interest charges. Additionally, missing credit card payments will negatively impact your credit score, which will make it more difficult to obtain loans to buy a home or car in the future. Your credit card bill is in your control, so always spend within your means. Even if it means not charging an extravagant dinner now, you’ll be thankful later.
4. Retirement Savings
We all dream of someday not working the 9-5 Monday through Friday grind, instead enjoying leisurely mornings filled with coffee and newspapers and stress free evenings of relaxation. So when retirement rolls around, you should be financially prepared so you don’t have to move in with your children. This means it’s important to put money away now for the future. Many companies offer 401k programs. However, you can supplement this with an IRA or Roth IRA for extra savings. Financial advisors recommend saving 10 percent to 15 percent of your income each year and the earlier you start the better. Even if you can really use the extra cash now, try to minimize other expenses so you can afford to retire at a time that you choose.
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5. Your Mattress
The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults, which is approximately one-third of your life. If you’re a self-proclaimed “I only need 5 hours of sleep” type of person, those better be the best five hours of sleep you’ve ever slept so that you don’t crash later in the day. So, don’t be stingy about buying a mattress. Bad mattresses cause back, neck, and shoulder pain and sleep deprivation. According to a study conducted in 2008 by The Better Sleep Council, sleep deprivation also causes memory problems, decreased productivity, and poor judgment. It’s okay to indulge yourself in a luxurious mattress because after all, it’ll pay for itself.
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