Happy New Year! With a fresh new slate called “2017”, it’s time to plan your new year’s FINANCIAL resolutions. Check out these tips sure to help you improve your financial situation in 2017 and beyond.
1. BYOB – Build Your Own Budget.
Do you even budget, bro? You may think you budget, but there is huge difference between keeping a balance in your head and writing things down. Keeping a monthly budget and noting every single transaction may seem like a tedious task, but it is the only way to fully understand your cash flow. If you’re not a paper and pen type of person, try using a spreadsheet and recording your monthly costs, or use a budgeting app to find out where your money is going. Maintaining this habit will allow you to set goals, adjust your spending, and most importantly, save your money.
2. Check your credit score.
Start the year off by checking your credit score. Checking your credit score will allow you to check for identity theft, review your credit history, and understand where you are at for future financial decisions, e.g. applying for a loan. Head to AnnualCreditReport.com and get your free annual credit report from all three reporting bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian). It will not hurt your credit score and it is free. Not the number you envisioned? Don’t get too discouraged, this is your year to change that. Easy ways to boost your score include paying over the minimum monthly payment, making payments on time, and maintaining low balances.
3. Build your emergency savings.
Building an emergency savings isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, and it is never too late to start. Experts recommend savings up to six months’ worth of expenses. Once you BYOB, you can determine how much you can set aside per month to build your emergency savings. The purpose of an emergency savings fund is to provide back-up in case your car quits, your roof starts leaking, you lose your job, or there’s a health emergency. Don’t wait for something happen; be prepared for when it does happen.
4. Automatic savings.
A quick way to save money is to utilize automatic savings. Instead of manually moving money into your 401k or savings account, set up automatic savings. With everything going on in life, sometimes it is easy to forget to move your money from one account to the other. Head to your closest U.S. Eagle branch and set up an automatic withdraw or transfer biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Watch your savings grow!
5. Make Extra Income.
If you plan on making a big purchase this year, paying off a large amount of debt, or want to stash some extra cash into savings, making some extra income may be the best option for you. There are so many ways you can make some extra money, it just depends on how much time you have to dedicate and how much you want it. You can go through your closet and sell clothes you no longer wear, pick up a second job as an Uber or Lyft driver, or go outside the box and start blogging. If you live in a large home and have an extra room, consider posting it on AirBnB. Another option is turning a skill set into income. If you’re great at tennis, maybe you can offer lessons on weekends, or if cooking is more your style, offer classes after work! Options are endless.