Is your New Year’s resolution to get a better handle on your finances? Here are a few tips for bringing in the new, and dumping the old when it comes to making the most of your money.
Declutter your bills. Cancel memberships and subscriptions you don’t use. Watch out for online subscriptions that auto-renew your account, to avoid paying for something you didn’t intend to continue or, worse yet, didn’t realize you were still paying! However, don’t leave credits for purchases or services on the table. Some monthly subscriptions will vacate any credits you earned if you cancel before using them.
Shop around. Not satisfied with your fitness center, insurance company, cable service, etc.? Now is the time to shop around and try to cut costs. Even saving $5 per month adds up to $60 a year. Don’t forget, however, to weigh all aspects of the price. For example, a no-frills gym membership might cost $15 less a month, but if another gym includes free childcare and children’s programming, the extra expense could be worth it for a family with younger children. Deciding between cable alternatives? See if your favorite shows are available through the service before subscribing to a new provider.
Where does it all go? Does it seem like nothing is left at the end of the month? Or do you want to save for a big purchase? Track every penny of your purchases for at least a week (ideally a month) in a journal, on your phone or an Excel spreadsheet on your computer. Then, review your spending and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
Know where you stand. If you can’t remember the last time you checked your credit, commit to checking your credit score and reviewing a detailed report every January. Requesting a report annually is free from all three major reporting agencies. If you identify discrepancies, clearing up your good name will help you obtain more favorable loans in the future. If your score is less than stellar, you will get an idea of where you can improve.
Whether buying a house or car is one of your financial goals for 2017, or you need to build up your emergency savings, we’re here to help!