When the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, it’s a good time to plan for your next 12 months. When making new year’s resolutions, don’t forget your finances. Here are seven financial resolutions for 2021.
Start the new year with a realistic budget. Whether you prefer budgeting apps, spreadsheets, or paper and a pen, review your spending and put together a budget that works for you and your family. Remember, a budget doesn’t tell you where to spend. It’s a spending plan that you’re in charge of.
According to the Federal Reserve, about 40% of Americans couldn’t pay for a $400 emergency from savings. If you couldn’t afford an unexpected car repair, medical bill, or other financial emergencies without borrowing, consider setting a little money aside every month in an emergency fund for the future.
Your credit score is like your high school GPA for your credit cards and other loans. Make the minimum payment by the due date and keep your balances low to build a good credit score. You can check your credit report for free by law at annualcreditreport.com to find the details behind your personal credit score.
As of 2020 , nearly 43 million Americans hold student loans with balances totaling over $1.56 trillion. If you have any student loan balances, it’s a good idea to review your loans annually for opportunities to save through income-based repayment, student loan forgiveness, or loan refinancing. This should be a part of your larger debt payoff strategy if you have other loans or credit balances.
Financially responsible households often carry homeowners or renters insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance, among other possible coverage types. Reviewing your coverage to make sure it’s still right for your family can help you save money or limit risk. If your rates have gone up, you can shop around for new insurance to see if you have opportunities to save.
If you plan on making any major purchases, it’s better to save ahead and pay in cash than borrow. When you borrow, you’ll be locked into monthly payments, interest, and fees related to a loan or carrying a credit card balance. When you save ahead, you could make money on your savings with interest and have better options when you’ve reached your savings goal.
When you’re shopping online, at the grocery store, or anywhere else, stay aware of prices and savings. Switching to a store brand could give you a nearly identical product for a much lower cost, for example. Skipping restaurants is another way to save big on regular spending. You may also be able to save buying some items used. While a few dollars here and there may not seem like much, those savings can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned.
Even if you’ve struggled with money in the past, a new year is a perfect time to make a change. January 1st is a great opportunity to drop bad habits and build good ones. From your credit score to your bank account, reviewing your finances and moving forward with good spending strategies can put your family in a position to financially thrive.
If you’re looking for help, learn more about how PayActiv can help you improve your finances for free.