“New year, new me!” How many times is that statement said this time of year only to be forgotten in a matter of weeks? Don’t get us wrong, a New Year’s resolution is great, but let’s be realistic, they are usually forgotten in a matter of 2 weeks. Why is this? It’s simple; the bar is set too high. Setting unrealistic goals at the beginning of the year is the downfall of most New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s fitness or finances, drastically changing your behavior patterns will do nothing but overwhelm and un-motivate most individuals. So if you want to buckle down on your finances this year with realistic goals to set you on the right path, we recommend the following:
Having good credit will open a lot of doors for your financial future. A good credit score is vital for getting approved for a home loan or business loan and could significantly lower the cost of your car payment when purchasing a new vehicle. Attaining a good credit score is not that complex. Just consistently paying your bills on time will noticeably bump up your score. For the new year, set a goal to always pay your bills on time. And hey! It’s 2017. Almost every bill you have can be set up as an automatic withdraw payment with your bank so you never have to worry about a deadline.
We get it. Saving money is hard. With the cost of living going up and your expenses increasing with age, sometimes there is nothing left over from your paycheck to save. If you don’t see the money, however, you won’t miss it. Most online banking allows you to set up an automatic transfer for a percentage of each paycheck to go into savings. The money will be transferred the day your paycheck hits your account, so you won’t even miss it. Start out by setting small amounts like $20 a paycheck and slowly increase the amount throughout the year based on what you can afford.
Setting a budget for every expense in your life is definitely a great idea, but again, is it realistic? Budgeting takes discipline so if that’s something you lack, just budget one expense you spend a substantial amount on each month. For instance, if you are a shopaholic, set a clothing budget where you can only spend an allotted amount on clothing and accessories each month. The big one for most, however, is food and going out to eat. If you really want to see some gains in your financial goals then try to set a weekly budget for going out to eat and groceries. We guarantee you’ll be shocked at how much you end up saving.
Just like building a good credit score, paying off debt is something that takes discipline and patience. Making extra payments will not only pay off debt faster but will also aid in building your credit. Finding a side gig to make those extra payments is key, but in an effort to not fall into the category of the New Year’s resolution failures, try to find something that allows you to set you own hours and gives you flexibility with your schedule. Maybe a serving job where you work only one shift a week, or even driving for Uber a couple nights a month. Anything really that will put some extra green in your pocket but doesn’t feel like a second job tying you down is a good idea when it comes to a side gig.
Yes emergencies happen and you always want something to fall back on, but a 50% off sale on shoes doesn’t count as an emergency. Again disciple is the key and having self-control to not buy things you don’t actually have the money for will benefit you greatly. If you use a credit card for the points and treat your card like a debit card, then make sure you always stay within your budget so you can easily pay off the balance at the end of every month.
Work to Build Your Credit Set up an Automatic Transfer for Savings Set a Budget for at Least One Expense
Find an Occasional Side Gig to Pay Off Debt Use a Credit Card for Emergencies Only