Those finances that you have ignored in the last part of 2014 while you buying and spending to create a fantastic Christmas? They are going to need some quick TLC to keep them from lingering well into 2015. Here are 5 money tips to help you deal with that debt and maybe even make progress next year!
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5 Money Tips to Kick-Start Financial Success in 2015
Establish a monthly (and annual) budget.
Determine your expenses and income for each month and over the year. Read our detailed post on how to start a budget. Look at where your money is going and decide if you are happy with that. Tracking your spending can be eye-opening. If you often find yourself at the end of the month without money, it could be that you are spending more on some things that you are aware. Cutting back on those miscellaneous expenses can help you find money for a savings account. If you want to have that spending spree in November and December next year, plan now and start a Christmas fund or other savings account where you are paying in each month for a payout from the account at the end of the year. This encourages saving each month as well as keeping you from putting the whole Christmas experience on plastic.
Look at how your money is allocated.
Determine if you need to rebalance how your money is working for you to take the most advantage of your goal targets. Don’t really have goals? Now is a great time to make a target allocation or seek some advice in how to figure out what that might be for you.
Designate a place for incoming tax documents.
There will likely be several pieces of tax information coming into your home in the next month or so. Make a place where all of that information can go immediately. If you have receipts or other items already that will be needed for tax preparation, place it here now. This way you will have everything ready when it’s time to go to that appointment. You won’t have to wait to file because everything you need will be right in one place.
Check your rates –
Once you know what you are spending, look for ways that you can save even more money. Call your cable, phone and internet providers and see if you can negotiate a lower rate. Consider combining services with one company if bundle pricing can save you big bucks. Call credit card companies and ask for an adjustment in your interest rate; do the same with insurance companies – see if you can get the same coverage for a lower rate.
Finally, get a copy of your credit report.
You can get a free copy of your credit report from all three of the credit reporting agencies once every 12 months. Make sure that there are no items on the report that are inaccurate. Also look at your accounts and consider if there is anything that you can do differently. If you have large amounts of credit card debt, look at paying down each card by working from the bottom up. Take the card with the smallest balance and paying the most toward that card.
Make minimum payments on the others and put everything you can toward paying off that small balance. Once you have paid that one off, go to the card with the next highest balance and so on. You may have heard this referred to as a “debt snowball” because once you get it started, it “snowballs”! You feel so encouraged by the small victory that you really want to keep going and move on to the next challenge!
With a little perseverance, thought and by following these money tips, 2015 can be a successful financial year. Just remember to have a good plan and then stick to it!
Do you have any money tips to share to help kick-start financial success in the new year? Share them in the comments!