Use visual cues to prompt yourself to put away more. A photograph of the beach house where you and your husband can envision spending your retirement will remind you to bump up the contribution to your 401(k); a snapshot of your child in a college sweatshirt can encourage you to put more into a 529 college savings plan.
By working toward a financial objective, you'll start to see the money add up for retirement or the credit card balance go down. But it doesn't have an immediate impact on your day-to-day life, and when it does - like when you're pinching pennies to save more - the immediate impact could feel negative.
Getting a tax refund is nice, but having more money year-round is better. If you get a chunk of change from the IRS, you're giving the government an interest-free loan - not something they, or any bank, would ever give you. Instead, change your withholding so you get a little extra in each paycheck.
You can refi your car loan just like you can refi your mortgage. It's even easier and less expensive. There's no appraisal process, and fees are minimal for a new car title. A couple of caveats: Most lenders require that the car be less than five years old and have a minimum loan balance of $7,500.
Turning a blind eye to your finances always brings trouble. When you let the bills or late notices stay in their envelopes, you're making matters worse. When you finally have to deal with the problem - believe me, you will eventually - it will be exaggerated because you didn't take action.
No one anticipates divorce when they're exchanging vows, and it can be devastating emotionally and financially. To ease the financial side of the blow, you need to maintain your financial identity in your relationship. That means having your own credit history - you need your own credit card - and your own savings and retirement accounts.
For most, the largest asset is their home. This becomes a sentimental issue, I know, but if you're holding on to a home that you can no longer afford - or you need the liquidity - you need to think about solutions. One might be to bring in a tenant or roommate; a more drastic measure is to sell the home and downsize.
When something you use again and again is on sale, take advantage. This strategy doesn't apply to perishable items, and you don't want to buy so much more than you need just to get a deal, but if you know you're going to use a product eventually, it pays to take advantage of the cheaper price.
Being charitable provides a boost to your psyche that is tough to replicate in any other way. But note that although any charity will happily take your money, you can give in other ways and still reap the same happiness reward. Volunteering and donating your old or unused belongings have the same result.