With the New Year upon us, there are many things individuals and families need to take into consideration outside of the resolutions you may make to lose weight or to spend more time together. Everyone can utilize this time of the year to look back at their financial goals and look forward with new ones. Each person is unique: some want to save more; others want to pay down debt. There may be an important big purchase coming up this year. On the other hand, you may want to think about retirement a bit closer. The New Year brings opportunity. What will you do with it?
Minimize The Crush Of Debt
Beyond anything else, individuals need to focus on their debt. Not only does it physically tax the body through stress, but it is holding you back from living a debt free lifestyle. Consider the following goals to help you reduce your debt:
- Spend less overall. Find one way that you can spend 10 percent less of your budget.
- Avoid credit cards. Try to use a cash only system when purchasing anything. It will teach you how to be a better saver, too. Make the drastic decision to cut up credit cards if you cannot control spending otherwise.
- Pay an extra 25 percent on your monthly payments. Perhaps you are not sure you can do this. Use the funds you cut out of your budget to make it happen.
- Contact each of your lenders and request a rate reduction. They may say no, but they may say yes and a yes can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
- Commit to no new credit cards, loans, pay day loans or other debts in the coming year. This commitment to yourself could change your financial future.
Which of these (or all of them) can you tackle in the New Year?
The second most common goal people have when planning goals for the new year is save more money. Of course, this is a great idea. The problem is, many people do not actually put in place strategies to make it happen. Just saying you will save more money will not help you. Consider the following goals. Which can help you to get more money in the bank?
- Take the time to invest in yourself first. If you do not have a 401K or an IRA, or other retirement savings account, find out if your employer offers one. This money comes directly out of your paycheck, has tax advantages and it is not something you need to think about. Did you know you could withdraw from most accounts, without penalty for big expenses such as medical care and down payments on homes?
- Focus on the shopping cart. As you walk through the grocery store or department store, keep a calculator in hand. Each item that goes needs tallied as you go. Why bother with this? You are more conscious of how much you are spending. When you see the bill approaching your budget limit, take items out as you need to.
- Save more at home. Read up on how to be environmentally friendly and energy use conscious. Find ways to cut costs at home. Is your water heater set too high? Are you using too much electricity during the day? Will a programmable thermostat cut your bill?
Although this is the time of year to be thinking about tomorrow, make sure you put your New Years plan in place today. Write it down. Give yourself specific goals to reach per week or month. As you go along, you will find yourself spending less, paying down debt, and putting more money away so you can achieve your long-term goals.