What would you tell the future you if you had a chance to say anything financially related? Would it be about the steps you are taking now to build a better financial future for yourself? Would you be embarrassed to admit that you aren’t doing enough? I was given the chance to make “a video to my future self” as part of attending the Capital One Banking Reimagined Tour recently, and going through the experience made me excited about saving money again.

This surprised me a little. You see, adding money into savings always gave me a kick because it meant I was getting a step closer to being financially free. I never saw spending less as a sacrifice, because it was clear in my mind that saving simply meant choosing to buy more freedom in the future. I didn’t realize this, but all those financially savvy moves slowly turned into a routine. The desire to spend slowly grew, while the fire to save slowly died. Without realizing it, saving money slowly became a chore.
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We often think about money management as something that happens separately from everything else in our lives, but nothing really exists in a vacuum. The truth is that our lifestyle habits can have a tremendous impact on the way we manage money. Live right and we will make the right choices. Live on the edge and our finances will suffer too. Here are three lifestyle habits that can make us worse at taking care of our financial resources:
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Most of us fall into two camps when it comes to filing our taxes: those who are super organized and file their tax return as soon as possible, and those who barely manage to scrape their paperwork together by April 15th.

Then again, not everyone who waits for the deadline is disorganized. Some people wait until the last minute because some companies tend to make mistakes and send in corrected forms late in the tax season. Which camp do you fall into? What are the advantages of either tendency (or strategy)?

I’d like to propose that there are more advantages to filing early (yes, even if you owe the IRS money) than filing at the last minute. Here they are:
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Raise your hand if you know you could be doing something to save a nice bit of cash each week but for some reason or another you just don’t. Maybe you have a hard time getting your act together to pack a lunch each week or somehow you never find the time to look for a cheaper auto insurance plan. Don’t be embarrassed if this is true for you, as almost everyone I know has these little, seemingly easy things that somehow just don’t wind up happening. If you’d like to conquer one of these items on your list, try my three step method for making a change in your habits.
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With interest rates rising and housing supply limited for the time being, many people are rushing to buy a home early this season. If you are one of these people, and unless you have cash ready to pay in full, then know that it’s especially important this time around to get pre-approved before you begin hunting for that dream home. With a competitive seller’s market, getting that proof gives you to a leg up because the seller knows you’re “good for it,” so to speak.

But, even before the pre-approval process, there are a few things to understand and get in order. Here are some steps that will ensure you get the home loan that’s right for you.
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Just because February is almost here doesn’t mean you should already be neglecting to improve your finances. In fact, no matter your resolutions (or if you’ve already abandoned them), it’s always a good idea to work on your finances.

If you’re looking for ways to tweak your budget to better effect this year, then here are some strategies you can follow to spend less and save more:

1. Factor in Infrequent Expenses

One of the biggest pitfalls of budgeting is forgetting about infrequent expenses. I have some expenses that are only paid quarterly, or perhaps once a year. It’s easy to forget to include them in the budget, especially if I come up with the budget during a month when I’m not making the payment. The fix is easy though.

As you tweak your budget this year, spend the extra bit of time to look ahead for infrequent expenses and include them. I like to break mine down into monthly costs so that they are accounted for. I also ensure that the money is already there when they are withdrawn from my account.
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