Just like so many people vow to commit to exercise and dieting as a New Year’s resolution, it’s also not a bad idea to take stock of your financial situation and throw in some fiscal goals. Taking a good look into your overall savings plan, wasteful spending and debt can help you get your financial health in tip top shape and increase your prosperity.
Here’s a list of five valuable exercises you can do to make sure you’re closer to where you want to be financially by this time next year.
Cut wasteful spending. This may seem like an obvious choice but for many it can be an ever-so-hard one! All too often people aren’t even sure exactly where they’re spending their money. The following are some apps you can utilize to help on this front: BillGuard, Penny and Level Money. These apps can link your accounts, track all of your credit card purchases and cash withdrawals and then categorize them into types of spending. You can use the knowledge these apps provide to cut back on purchases that may seem inconsequential at the time but add up in the end.
Create a cushion in your savings. This can first and foremost be accomplished by cutting wasteful spending. But another easy way to save more for emergency expenses is to start utilizing and/or adjusting automatic transfer features on your bank account that allow you to push your money from recurring deposits into designated savings accounts. A lot of times when we see the money sitting in our checking account we tend to think it’s available to spend. So by setting up these transfers, the money is no longer in an account where it’s easy to access!
Get a handle on credit card debt. If you have multiple credit cards, you may want to consolidate to one or two cards. Start by looking at each of your credit card statements to see which has the lowest interest rates—transferring your other balances onto those cards can save you hundreds of dollars a month and thousands a year. Then, challenge yourself to lower these balances by spending only cash on everything you purchase for an entire month and see how it affects your spending habits.
Improve your credit rating. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home, rental property, car or solar panels, everyone wants to first…run your credit! You don’t want to be surprised by a low credit score and be faced with a higher interest rate right as you’re applying for a new loan. Make it a priority over the next 12 months to research your credit report, make sure everything is accurate and then take the necessary action to improve it.
Protect your estate. If you don’t have an estate plan, now’s the time to create one. If you already have one, now may be the time to make sure it is up to date. As time passes, things in life change and estate plans need to be updated. Has your family had any recent births or deaths, have you gained new assets, have there been any marriages or divorces? Any of these life changes can alter your estate wishes and should be addressed in your estate documents as they happen to ensure you’re always prepared. Give the office a call if you have had any changes to your situation so we can be sure you are properly covered.
You work hard for your money, and by doing these financial exercises we know you can make sure it works just as hard for you.