As we begin a new year, it’s time to take a look at our finances and make a plan for the coming year to help us be financially healthy and prosperous in 2019. These are manageable goals that should be easier than sticking with a new gym membership.
- Automate the important! If you struggle to stow away cash into your savings, try automating the process. Many banks typically have a feature that allows you to transfer into your savings account on a schedule. You can set this up just like a bill that you pay each month. Set a dollar amount that you wish to save by the end of the year, then divide that number into 12 months. This allows you to incrementally meet your goal. You can also automate your bill paying. This allows you to save time and money with avoiding late fees.
- Increase the contribution to your employer’s retirement plan. One of the best ways to save is to give straight from your paycheck before you even see it. Be sure to max out your company’s 401k plan. If you are not taking advantage of your company’s match plan, you are leaving money on the table. If an employer matches 50 cents to your dollar, you may need to beef up your contribution to make the most of the match.
- Use smartphone apps to help you stick to a budget. If an Excel spreadsheet isn’t working for your budgeting needs, resolve to use a financial technology app to get your finances together. Many budgeting, investing, debt management and saving apps are available for free. Some options are:
• EveryDollar is a free app that helps you track your monthly spending so you can better manage your cash from day to day.
• Goodbudget is a free app that is perfect for sharing a budget with a spouse, family member or friend. It allows you to sync across multiple devices.
• Mint is a free app that brings together your bank accounts, credit cards, bills and investments in one place. It allows you to see what you are spending and where you can save money.
- Don’t take on new debt. 46% of Americans have credit card debt with the average credit balance of just over $8,000.00. Paying off all of your debt can be a difficult undertaking for many people. One suggestion is resolving to not take on any new debt in 2019, so you can work to pay down your current balances. Lowering your interest rates is another debt-related resolution you can set. Lowering interest rates on existing debt can help you get out of debt faster.
Here are a few methods you can use to lower your interest rates:
• Try a balance transfer card with a low introductory starting deal. Here is a listing of credit cards with the longest 0% introductory deals.
• Consolidate your debt with a personal loan. LendingTree has a marketplace where you can shop for debt consolidation products.
• Use a HELOC, home equity loan or cash-out refinance. Learn more about the benefits and risks of HELOCs, home equity loans and cash-out refinances here.
- Track your credit score. AnnualCreditReport.com for one free credit report per year. This is especially important this year with 145 million people that had their credit exposed in the Equifax breech. This gives you the opportunity to correct any errors and check for fraudulent accounts that may have been opened in your name. Monitoring your credit score and improving your credit score can qualify you for the best deals on new products and refinances.
The key to setting resolutions for 2019 is making realistic goals with the actions necessary to bring them to fruition. Don’t resolve to increase your savings by a certain amount without a strategy. Instead, resolve to strategize in ways that will give you your desired result. If you put these practices into action, you may have something to celebrate at the end of 2019. Visit Magnify Money for more information.
One way for you to save money in the coming year just might be to have a virtual office instead of the large office you may currently be in. As Summit Executive Suites looks to the new year, we are always looking for new services and technologies to improve our offices and make our clients’ businesses run more smoothly and cost effectively.