1. Avoid Scams
This year, fake phone calls from the IRS seem to be popular. If the "IRS" calls you, and demands that you pay - hang up. The aggressive calls are actually coming from phone scammers, and they are good at what they do. Since October 2013, they have tricked over 5,000 victims into paying over $26.5 million. Although it's not a way to "fix" your finances, it's not something that you want to have to fix.
2. Save For Something Specific
Can you afford to save a little more this year? What about setting up automatic transfer payments from your paycheck to your savings account?
When you have a goal in mind, and know where you want your money to go, saving is much easier! Having money saved for your bigger financial goals - like buying a house, car, or other major expense - will help you reach your goals instead of wonder where your paycheck went.
3. Pay Down Debt
Do you have a plan to pay off your student loan debt, credit card debt, or other debt? Sit down, and get a plan to pay it off!!
The faster you can pay off your debt, the less interest you will accumulate, and the less money you'll have to pay in the long run. In other words...you'll pay less money if you pay off your debt!!!
Check out this cool tool, the student debt calculator, to help you figure out how much interest you will pay, and how long you'll have to pay, depending on the loan amount and the interest rate.
4. Have an Emergency Fund
This is separate from your savings, and just for emergencies. You never know when that tire will go flat...
A good number to have...$1,000.
5. Cook at Home
Cooking at home is a big money-saver. And who doesn't love a good home-cooked meal. If you're not a good cook, keep trying, you'll get there....eventually.
6. Know About Predatory Lending
7. Know Your Financial Institution
This one should be at the top of the list. Why? Because it's important!!!
How much do you know about your financial institution? Do you use a bank or credit union? Do you know the difference? These are questions that you should be able to answer. Credit unions are often in your best interest because they 1) charge less fees, 2) have lower loan rates (which is a good thing), and 3) give you better interest rates on your savings account. If you don't know the difference, you can learn here.
8. Cut Down On Insurance
Research better rates.
9. Cut Back on Expenses
Call your cable company, phone company, etc. and simply ASK for better rates. Most of the time, they'd rather give you a better rate than have you leave...
It's never too early to save for retirement...although it feels early...
Actually, the earlier you can start to save for retirement, the better. Starting earlier means more money for you in the long run (because of compound interest). If you're employed, ask your employer about retirement. If not, consider opening a Roth IRA.
Hope your finances are looking good in 2016! If you have any tips, please share!!