Regardless of whether you’re in the habit of making New Year’s resolutions or you tend to forego this annual ritual, January is an opportune time to take proactive steps that will set you on a course toward greater prosperity and financial freedom. If you find it hard to get motivated, try a few of these small steps that can add up to major impact. You may be surprised at how easy, and even fun, it can be to take better control of your financial well-being in 2019:
Set monthly savings goals, rather than taking on the entire year at a time: If you think in terms of smaller, shorter-term goals, saving immediately becomes far more manageable, and less daunting from a psychological standpoint. Moreover, people tend to get greater satisfaction and motivation from hitting their savings’ targets on a more frequent basis. In “Budgeting Tips for the New Year 2019,” you’ll find helpful suggestions for creating goals for each month. For instance, one might start by saving $50 one month, increase this to $55 in the next month, and then continue to raise the goal by small increments in the following months.
Put an automatic savings strategy in place: For a painless and effective way to create and grow your savings, set up automatic monthly transfers to your savings account (or another secure financial product). One way to do this is to use direct deposit to carve out a portion of your paycheck and have it deposited directly into a savings account, instead of putting the entire amount into your checking account. Another is to schedule monthly deductions from your checking account into savings.
Look to your recurring charges as a place to eliminate spending: A recent article by Grow from Acorns points to ongoing monthly charges as a good area to start in terms of reducing expenses. This may mean asking your Internet and/or phone carrier if they can offer you a better rate, or even making the switch from your cable provider to more budget-friendly streaming services. For an excellent overview of TV subscription services available, visit “Cord-Cutters, Consider These Video-Streaming Services,” from U.S. News & World Report. Another expense that often falls within this category of ongoing expenses, and may offer good potential for valuable savings, is your auto insurance (and insurance in general). Find “Auto Insurance Discounts You May Not Know About” here.
Roll over your change: Plenty of online apps offer a convenient way to save and invest with just a small amount of change at a time. Many of these work by rounding up your checking or debit account transactions to the nearest dollar and transferring the money into a savings or investment account. Just a few savings’ apps worth considering: Acorns, Digit and Qapital. As The College Investor explains, some of these services even allow you to set multiple goals and transfer cash based on rules you set yourself. For example, you can tell the Qapital app to transfer $5 each time you purchase a latte. For more suggestions of apps that make it simple to save, check out Forbes’ article “5 Financial Apps That Automate Saving Money While You Sleep.”
Consider a personal loan to pay off high-interest credit cards: If you’re carrying a balance on multiple credit cards with high interest rates, you can often save substantial money by consolidating this debt with a personal loan. Not only can this lower your monthly expenses right away, but it will also enable you to pay less money in interest in the long term. When reviewing offers for personal loans, be sure to consider how comfortable you are with interest rate changes and how important a predictable budget is for you. If you want peace of mind from knowing that your payments won’t change from month to month, a fixed interest rate personal loan is often the best choice. With a low, fixed-rate personal loan from SFPCU, you can borrow up to $25,000 for any purpose for terms up to sixty months (balances beyond $15,000 may be extended to 72 months). Find details and restrictions at http://bit.ly/SFPCUPersonalLoans.
Stay on top of your budget with a personal financial management tool: Finally, if you’ve yet to take advantage of online money management tools like SFPCU’s MoneyTrac, 2019 might be the year you discover just how much easier your financial life can be. A free and secure service available to all SFPCU members, MoneyTrac makes it simple to track and monitor spending, build and maintain a budget, manage debt, monitor your investments, set goals, track your net worth and more. With real-time updates and the ability to easily sync data from all of your various accounts, MoneyTrac gives you a complete picture of your overall financial position in one place. What’s more, its color-coded visuals enable you to quickly drill down to critical areas of your financial life, and make adjustments as needed. Get set to simplify your finances today with easy set up at http://bit.ly/MoneyTracFromSFPCU.