If your New Year’s resolution was to get your finances in order, this is your nearly mid-2019 checkup. If you’re a bit disappointed in your spending vs. saving habits thus far, it’s not time to panic. Instead, it’s time to implement a plan. If you change your daily, weekly, and monthly habits now, you can and will be proud of your savings by year’s end. Need some money inspiration? Read on for tips on how to get a hold of your finances in 2019.
Pick Up an Extra Gig
With the advent of the internet, side hustles abound. When it comes to making extra money, you guessed it – there’s an app for that. Whether you drive for Uber or Lyft, learn how to do online trading, sell second-hand clothes on Shopify, teach people how to speak English in online classes, deliver food for Postmates, or sell your Marketing skills on Fiverr, the possibilities are seemingly endless. If you’ve found yourself a bit bored during the evenings or you’re tired of getting sucked into Netflix binges, why not give one – or all – of these a shot?
Prepare for Disaster
You’re cruising along, thinking your checking and possibly even savings are in pretty good shape, when all of a sudden your laptop dies. Or your car’s transmission drops out. Even worse, you get laid off or get divorced. It’s depressing to think about these things but it’s a must, and you should always have an account that you can’t touch that allows you to handle such occurrences without causing a financial disaster.
Clean Up Your Credit
Many people don’t pay enough attention to their credit scores, and this is one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make, as this affects everything from being able to buy and rent homes to landing jobs and securing loans. You can check your FICO (credit) score for free. If yours is not at a point you had hoped it would be, don’t fret. You can clean it up by making sure to dispute any mistakes, paying off any debt that you can, and being wise about the amount of credit you have open. It’s also a good idea to automate your bills, as late payments can negatively impact your credit score as well.
Consider Yourself the CFO
If you have a family, designate yourself the money manager. As this US News article notes, “As household CFO, you should manage cash flow, build long-term plans, know when to delegate, schedule regular money meetings, award bonuses and come up with a plan for succession.” It doesn’t have to be a dictatorship by any means, but one person should have an overarching idea of where the money is going and what is coming in as well.
Conduct an Audit
They say you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff but this isn’t necessarily the case when it comes to money, particularly if you’re trying to really get a hold of your finances. It’s good to conduct frequent audits on where your money is going, as you’ll often find out that you’re paying for some services twice through subscriptions and the like. Find out if you can lower your credit card bills, your monthly gym payments (perhaps by paying yearly instead of monthly), and forego that daily Starbucks run in lieu of making your own coffee.
Many people are even quitting cable because they are realizing that all they do is watch shows on their apps anyway. These might sound like small things but they will affect your bottom line.
Research Your Company Resources
There is no doubt about the fact that you should be partaking in a 401(k) investment fund if your company offers that, especially if they offer matching contributions. But there are other things they might offer too, like student loan repayment assistance, low-cost insurance plans, discounted gym memberships, and continued education. Don’t leave money on the table.
Don’t just throw your hands in the air and say, “Well, I’m bad with money and that’s that.” You can always use a site like Dollar Daddy for advice. Listen to financial podcasts. Take financial courses. Not only will these things make you feel empowered, but you could learn helpful long-term financial habits.
Ask for That Raise
If you just started a job or haven’t been feeling like you’re at the top of your game at work, perhaps now is not the time. But if you’ve been there for a long time and have been putting in long hours, coming up with innovative ideas, and generally working hard, it could be the moment to put your negotiation skills to work. What’s the worst that could happen? Your boss could say, “No.” But you won’t know until you ask.
We know this sounds cliche but, listen, you’ve got this. Implement some or all of these tweaks to your financial habits and watch your savings grow by 2020.