Everyone could use a little extra cash around the house. Here are just nine ways to improve your finances in the upcoming year.
1. Track Your Spending
This may sound like a no-brainer, but only 60 percent of Americans actually track their spending on a weekly or monthly basis. If you aren’t one of them, you could be losing hundreds of dollars a year on frivolous purchases that you didn’t even realize were adding up.
2. Pay Off Your Debts
Your credit score can make a big difference in everything from your home loans to your car insurance premiums. Don’t you want a good one? Settle all of those old debts by getting on the phone with creditors and working out payment arrangements for the remaining balance.
3. Educate Yourself
Do you know what an IRA is? Are you familiar with the recent changes handed down by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and how they’ll affect your mortgage? If not, it’s time to hit the books. You can’t expect to make sweeping changes to your bank account without understanding the fundamentals of finance.
4. Start Investing
Investments can be a risky venture, but you don’t have to do it alone. Today there are many options for business investments that you can take that will help you navigate the world of stocks, bonds and franchises, or you can also look into joining investment groups with other like-minded people for support and wisdom.
5. Get a Secured Credit Card
Unlike traditional credit cards, a secured one can’t put you into debt. This is because your spending maximum is set at the same amount you deposit with the bank beforehand. For example, if you only deposit $500, you can’t spend more than $500 even on the wildest shopping spree. Your card won’t let you.
6. Go Green
Many people think of eco-friendliness as something expensive or time consuming, but the truth is that it will actually save you money in the long run. Sure, you’ll need money upfront to install those photovoltaic panels on the roof, but they’ll buy themselves back over and over throughout the years.
7. Think About Retirement
It’s never too early to start planning your 401(k). If you haven’t already, talk to your boss about options. You might also want to consult a financial planner so you can make absolutely sure that you’re all set for your twilight years.
8. Reconsider Your Taxes
Not only can you reduce your annual tax costs by doing them yourself instead of handing them over to a professional, but this practice will also give you a greater familiarity with your own finances. Who knows what you could be writing off each year?
9. Lower Your Bills
This is easier said than done, of course, but it isn’t an excuse not to try. Can you sign up for a special offer with your cable company and get your monthly fee lowered? Can you revisit your insurance policy and cut off some extraneous coverage? Don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to putting money back in your pocket.
These are just nine ways to save money in the current economy. Things might be a little tense right now, but sunshine always comes after the rain, and you’ll want to make sure you have enough funds to enjoy it when it appears.