Personal finance might appear very complicated and involved, but if you know what you are doing it can be very rewarding to your current and future affairs. If you don’t know what you are doing, you can lose a lot of money or be left with nothing. Fear not, the tips listed below can help you avoid this.

The stock market is in a dangerous state right now, so don’t take any big investment risks unless you’re willing to lose a lot of money. Any investment might seem like a good idea at first, but there are a lot of factors that affect stock prices and unless you’re an expert, you won’t see them coming.

Make the move to local banks and credit unions. Your local bank and lending institutions will have more control over how they lend money resulting in better rates on credit cards and savings accounts, which could then be reinvested in your own community. All of this, with good old-fashioned personal service!

A great tip for anyone interested in finding extra money each month to put toward existing debts is to make a habit each day of emptying your pockets or purse of change received during cash transactions. It may seem like a small thing, but you will be amazed by how much money actually accumulates over time, and you may find yourself paying down that stubborn credit card balance faster than you ever thought possible.

If your bank is suddenly adding fees for things that were previously free, like charging a monthly fee to have an ATM card, it might be time to investigate other options. Shop around to find a bank that wants you as a customer. Regional banks might offer better options than large national banks and if you are eligible to join a credit union, add them to your comparison shopping, too.

Avoid eating out to save money. You will save a lot of money if you just stay in and eat at home.

If you want to keep your credit score as high as possible, you should have between two and four credit cards in active use. Having at least two cards helps you establish a clear payment history, and if you’ve been paying them off it raises your score. Holding more than four cards at a time, however, makes it look like you’re trying to carry too much debt, and hurts your score.

Familiarize yourself with the fine print of surcharges and fees associated with your credit card payments. Most credit card companies assign a hefty $39 and up fee for exceeding your credit limit by even one dollar. Others charge up to $35 for payments that are received only a minute after the due date.

So as you can see, personal finance is not as complicated as it may appear. It is involved in terms of research and asking questions, but it is worth it in the end. With the above tips in mind, you should be smarter when it comes to improving your own financial situation.