A new year brings all kinds of opportunities. It is a chance for you to start fresh or to try something new. One idea is to get your finances into shape. There are plenty of great ways to improve finances in 2019, which will set you on the path to financial success!
When you begin improving your finances, you might not know exactly where to start. It can be overwhelming. With the right steps, the entire process can go smoothly. Here are some of the tips you can take to improve finances in 2019:
1. Create a SMART financial goal.
SMART goals include five criteria. These goals must be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Creating SMART goals helps your goals to be doable, which essentially means you’re setting yourself up for success.
2. Make minimum payments on all of your debts.
This will allow you to begin building good credit because your payments will be on time. Once you have paid all of your minimum payments, paying the principal is an option. The minimum payments should be your top priority.
3. Pay off your smallest loans first.
If you are in the position to start paying off your loans, start small. This is a powerful tool because it helps to build momentum. Once you start knocking out whole loans, you will feel more motivated to keep going. It can be discouraging to keep working toward the big loans that take months or years to pay off. Every debt you get rid of is also lowering the amount you are paying in interest each month.
4. Get organized.
Before you really get started, you should try to understand your financial situation. Figure out how much each of your debts is, how much interest you are paying, how much you make each month, and what your expenses are. Having all of this information in front of you can be essential to coming up with a plan. This can be hard, but you need to know where you are financially so that you know where to go next.
5. Keep your savings separate.
If you do not already have a separate savings account, now is a great time to open one. When you separate your savings from your checking account, you are less likely to spend that money. This allows your savings to continue to grow without any accidental spending.
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6. Focus on interest rates.
Interest rates can turn out to be an important part of the financial process. Loans with high interest rates are important to pay off because they are taking the most money from you. Another place to consider interest rates is with savings accounts. Look for an account with the highest interest possible to build up your savings. Keep an eye on these interest rates to make sure you know where your money is going.
7. Find an accountability partner.
Everything is better with a friend, including improving your finances. Choose a friend or a family member and share your goals with them. When you need a little extra support, reach out to them. You could also have a weekly check-in where you talk about your goals, discuss any challenges, and come up with a game plan for the following week.
8. Increase your retirement savings as your salary increases.
You should always aim to put 15% of your income away for retirement. Too often, people forget to increase the amount they are adding to their retirement fund once they get a raise. As soon as you get a raise, you should also up your retirement contribution.
9. Stick to a budget.
When you create a budget for all of your necessary expenses, you will be less likely to spend freely. There are probably items you buy without even thinking about them. These may be adding up and contributing to any debt. When you reduce your spending, you increase the amount of money you can put toward your debts, which pays them off sooner. Track what you are buying, eliminate anything you do not need, and tighten up your budget.
10. Make an emergency fund.
One reason that people go into debt is due to emergencies that they are not prepared to pay for. You should build up an emergency fund so that you are ready to cover any emergencies that may occur. This can start small with just $1,000. Even that little bit will help you to handle some emergencies, which will keep you from accumulating even more debt.
11. Know your WHY.
Try to come up with a reason or two for wanting to get your finances under control. If possible, write it somewhere where you can see it every day. Maybe you can stick a picture of it in your wallet, on your phone lock screen, or in your car so that you have the reminder constantly. When you are frequently reminded of your WHY, you will continue to stay motivated.
12. Don’t keep adding to your debt.
Once you consolidate or eliminate your existing debt, make sure you keep it that way. Incurring more debt will put you back where you started. Plus, this can put you into the habit all over again. If your debt is consolidated or eliminated, you should avoid creating the same issue again.
13. Ask for help.
If you are unsure about what to do with your finances on your own, find someone to help you out. Debt can be tricky. With the right guidance, you should be able to turn things around. Look for someone who will explain the process and help you to truly understand what is going on.
Improving finances in 2019 is an excellent way for you to become prosperous in all areas of your life. At Christian Debt Counselors, we are here to help. Give us a call today to get started on your financial success journey!