In these uncertain times, keeping a close and careful eye on your personal finances is more important than ever. To make sure you’re making the most of your money, here are some tips and ideas that are easy to implement, covering just about every aspect of saving, spending, earning, and investing.

If you are trying to get the best credit score, you shouldn’t have more than four credit cards. Having just one card will make it longer for you to get a better credit score, while five or more cards can make it harder to deal with finances. Begin with two cards, then add additional cards as necessary to build your credit.

If you are looking for the best deals, take the middle man out of the equation. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity can include transactions fees (though some have been reducing them or even eliminating them). Take a look at the prices directly available at the websites of the airlines and hotels you are considering. You may find that it is cheaper.

It is very important to budget the amount that you should be spending over the course of a week, month and year. This will give you a rough estimate as to where you should be setting your limits so that you never find yourself in a poor situation financially. Use budgeting techniques to maintain security.

One piece of advice that you should follow so that you are always in a safe position is to establish an emergency account. If you are ever fired from your job or faced hard times, you will want to have an account that you can resort to for additional income.

In regards to your personal finances, one of the worst things that you can do is gamble a lot of money at a casino. Casinos are geared to have an advantage, as you can lose your life savings on a bad day. If you do go to the casino, bring a couple hundred dollars in and leave your credit and debit cards behind.

Get a checking account that is free. Paying fees to access your money can cost you quite a bit in the long run. Many banks are doing away with free accounts, but a little leg work will help you find what you are looking for. Avoid losing hundreds of dollars to fees every year.

Get yourself a credit card that pays rewards. If you pay your credit cards off each month, a rewards credit card is ideal for you. Run all of your monthly expenses, including groceries, gas and your daily Starbucks, through the card. Bankrate.com can help you find the card that pays the highest rewards for the types of spending that fits your lifestyle.

If you’re trying to start a budget using a program, try to avoid spending with cash. It’s easy to forget about cash purchases and not factor them in, since they’re much more difficult to track with budgeting software. Instead, use debit or credit cards wherever possible to keep your spending visible.

Buy your staples in bulk and save big money. Instead of buying those tiny bags of sugar and flour think in terms of twenty-five pounds at a time. That might seem like a lot but the money you will save will justify the storage space it will require. Just make sure you store everything safely in tins or other rodent proof containers.

These tips will help you save more, spend wisely, and have enough left over to make smart investments. Now that you know the best rules of the financial road, start thinking about what to do with all that extra cash. Don’t forget to save, but if you’ve been especially good, a small personal reward could be nice too!