Let’s face it, after the holiday season spending spree is finished, most of us feel like our bank accounts are a bit lighter than we’d like them to be. With this in mind, let’s look at 10 personal finance steps you can follow to start off 2015 a little bit better money-wise and hopefully stay with throughout the year:
1. Stop getting nickeled & dimed by everyone
But don’t start doing this to everyone else. Why let stores, friends, family, etc., take advantage of you when it comes to money? Be fair about it & don’t get taken advantage of by anyone. Instead, use coupons, negotiate better deals/terms, ask firmly but nicely for the money you’re owed. Stop getting the short end of the stick – you deserve better.
2. Put a budget in place AND stick to it.
No sense in going about spending your money aimlessly – let’s figure out how to better use this green stuff, eh? Nothing will help you do that better than figuring out what goes out & what comes in. No excuses either – plenty of cheap & easy to use software that can help you create/track your budget. This way, you can figure out where you’re going wrong money-wise & put a stop to it.
3. Put a financial plan in place AND stick to it.
See #2 above. Make sure your investments are doing what they should be with your goals in mind…whatever those goals may be.
4. Eliminate terrible debt.
The big-box plastic is probably #1 for most. The only acceptable debts (as long as the interest rates are reasonable) are mortgages, car loans, home improvement loans, and college loans. Negotiate lower rates whenever possible – no need to pay more interest than you should.
5. Get a sufficient emergency fund in place NOW.
This way, you won’t resort to plastic when you have one of those “uh-oh” moments. Shoot for 3 mos. of income for starters…if you can get to 1 yr. of income than would be best.
6. Improve your health.
Yes, this affects your $! Less money spent on medications/prescriptions, less doctor’s visits (except your regular checkups), etc. Eating better (you can contact me about this – I know a thing or two in this area also) and regular exercise (we all have to start somewhere – even if it’s just taking a walk after lunch and/or dinner) are truly your financial “friends”. If you make healthy changes, you will spend less money for all types of insurances going forward & enjoy a better quality of life. We all want that, right?
7. Take care of the things you have.
No sense in spending $ frequently on big-ticket items. Make them last for a while. Maintenance is key, especially when it comes to vehicles, boats, your home, properties, etc.
8. Be satisfied with what you have.
No need to play that game called “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Having the latest big-screen TV in every room in your house is not wise if you don’t have enough saved for retirement or for little Suzie’s college education. Prioritize the things that really matter – delay the gratification instead of having the “I need this yesterday” mentality that gets too many people into financial trouble.
9. Avoid doing dumb things.
What I mean is that lots of people sue lots of people every day, so refrain from giving the sue-happy crowd any reason to come after you. There’s a reason there are a lot of lawyers in the good ol’ U.S. of A…..and, last (but not least)…
10. Learn something new financially every day.
Even if it seems like something minor, the more you educate yourself about financial matters, the better financial decisions you’ll make. Hire a qualified financial professional who values educating you on a regular basis – this 10th step (if you hire the right financial advisor) can easily help you with the prior 9 steps!
Happy New Year everyone – let’s make 2015 a great year!
To learn more about Martin Federici, view his Paladin Registry profile.
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