Becoming financially fit in 2017
Tackling your finances might be more difficult than losing twenty pounds. It’s certainly hard to talk about with friends and family, and even your spouse. Still, many Americans want to really change how they handle money so they can experience financial security, now and in the future. Resolving to make some changes this year is a good start. We’ve prepared a short list of financial resolutions that everyone should try in 2017.
1. Pay down debt.
Forbes reports that paying down debt is the top financial resolution people make on New Year’s. Encouragingly, people who were able to successfully pay down large amounts of debts often listed setting financial goals as the key. If paying down debt is your goal this year, there are a few smart options available. If you have student loans, refinancing can lower your monthly payments or interest rate. Or, if you have credit card debt, consider a balance transfer with a 0% introductory APR. (But be sure to pay it off before you are stuck paying a higher rate again!) And you really need to, consider picking up an extra job and putting the cash exclusively towards paying down your debts.
2. Set up an emergency fund.
Financial guru Dave Ramsey suggests that every home should have an emergency fund to act as a buffer for unexpected expenses, like an extended hospital stay, or financial setbacks, like unemployment. As Ramsey points out, the majority of us, 78% in fact, will suffer some kind of major financial setback over a ten-year period. An emergency fund should cover three to six months of expenses, so it can take a little planning to build one up. Starting to save in January is a great way to insure a more financially secure future.
3. Pay attention to small purchases.
Reaching our big goals like paying down debt and establishing a saving fund means setting smaller goals. All those lattes and lunches out end up costing us a lot in the long run. Saving only five dollars a day adds up an extra $150 dollars a month, which could help you reach your long term financial goals. Make it easy to avoid impulse purchases. Brew yourself coffee to go every morning, and keep your refrigerator stocked with easy choices for bag lunches. Be sure to build some spending money into your budget as well, since it’s unrealistic to think you’ll never grab a two-o-clock cappuccino.
4. Live within your means.
It’s simple advice, but nobody can reach their financial goals without living within their means. Whatever your budget is, first set aside money for necessities, then savings, then use what’s left to have fun. Don’t be tempted to use your credit card to purchase luxuries you can’t afford, only to find yourself paying over and above the cost of the item later in interest and fees. At first the budget will feel restrictive, but in the end the experience of financial peace is well worth it.
5. Be a well-informed consumer.
Do your homework before making big purchases. Whether it’s a car or a washing machine, you’re far less likely to end up with a lemon if you take some time to investigate the product. It’s especially important to look into professionals who promise to provide a service. People lose thousands of dollars on hiring people who don’t do the job, or don’t do it right. Turn to a trusted resource like Angie’s list for trusted reviews. All of the Angie’s List Super Service Award winners, like Modernistic, have been background checked, and have fair price and service qualities guarantees. You’ll have peace of mind about your purchases. And when you are ready to schedule your next carpet cleaning with a quality provider, use our easy online scheduling tool
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