The new year is almost here. You’ve already resolved to hit the gym, cut back on junk food, and spend more time with your family. But what about your finances?
Before 2017 becomes 2018, here are five financial resolutions that you can make to improve your financial health.
1. Pay Bills on Time
When it comes to paying bills, it’s easy to miss deadlines or delay making payments because you’re waiting for a paycheck to come through. It’s easy to dismiss these incidents as minor, but credit report agencies take notice of these missed payments. This can hurt your credit score.
Make sure that you prioritize paying bills as soon as you get paid so that you’re less tempted to spend the money on luxuries. Better yet, set up an automatic payment so that you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay. If you find that you are having trouble paying certain bills, it may mean that you need to re-evaluate your budget to make sure that you’re avoiding debt and getting the most value from your paycheck.
2. Lower Your Credit Card Debt
Because of high-interest rates and additional fees, paying down your credit card debt can be one of the hardest things to do, and also one of the most necessary.
Taking a look at how you use your credit cards is a good place to start. You may want to consider transferring the balance to a 0 percent interest card, but only if you can make the payments without adding to your current debt.
If you’re looking for more ideas, talking to a Certified Debt and Credit Counselor can be a great way to start.
3. Add One Month’s Pay to Your Emergency Fund
Ideally, you should have a six-month emergency fund available in case of job loss or other unforeseen expenses. Don’t have that much available? Make a resolution to add one month’s pay or more to that fund. A great way to do that is set up a monthly auto-deduction for an amount equal to ten percent of your monthly salary. By the end of the year, you’ll have more than added a month’s salary to your savings account.
4. Improve Your Credit Score
The fact is, very few of us have perfect credit. But there are steps we can take to improve our credit score. The first step should be to get your free credit report and review it for errors. If you find issues or errors, it’s a good idea to take steps to have them corrected. Once you’ve confirmed that everything is accurate, you can begin taking additional steps to improve it.
5. Look for a Better Job
Over the course of the year, we talk a lot about how to get the most from your current salary. But what if you could increase that pay? Now is the time to acquire the skills you need to advance in your career; talk to your boss about a raise, or look for a new job.
Once you’re bringing home more money, remember that you still need to meet your bills and maintain your monthly budget. Otherwise, you’re likely to fall into the same habits that got you into debt in the first place.
Looking for more ideas? Consider talking to a certified debt and credit counselor. They can help you to organize your finances, create a budget for the coming year and offer solutions to help you pay down your debt.
Want to learn more? Schedule a free counseling session today or call us at 800-920-2262.