1) Estimate this year’s income and expenses and build your 2020 budget. Take 10 minutes and estimate your monthly expenses and any big expenditures that may be coming up this year. If you need help getting started, try SmartAsset’s Budget Calculator. Once you know your numbers, update last year’s budget or create your 2020 budget. If you don’t know how, I have a Budget Worksheet that can help!
2) Track your expenses throughout the year. I like to use Mint.com to track my expenses and make sure I stick to my budget. Their easy-to-use app provides the ability to set goals and they provide helpful charts and graphs to help you visualize your progress! If you don’t like Mint.com, there are other apps you can use. If you have questions about the best one for your situation, TwentyFour Financial is here to help!
3) Lower your monthly bills. Most estimates show consumers racked up on average $1,000+ of debt over the holiday season. January is the perfect time to ease your financial burdens by reviewing your regular bills (electric, internet, cell phone, auto insurance, etc.) and getting a better deal. A blog post on this is coming soon!
4) Move your savings into a high-interest savings account. Don’t let your money just sit there, make it work for you! There are several banks offering great rates for savings accounts right now: anywhere from 1.60%-1.85% (this is well above the average bank rate of 0.01%-0.03%). I typically recommend using Ally.com. They are on the lower-end of high interest banks, but have fewer requirements and restrictions than many of the others.
5) Create a comprehensive financial plan. Are you going through the motions each month, paying the bills and crossing your fingers that some day you will have the money you need for the life you want? Get proactive! Make sure you are saving, investing, and budgeting effectively so that you can be where you want to be a year from now or five years from now. If you are ready to take the next step, consider booking a Financial Assessment to help get you on the right track (for a fraction of the price that others charge).