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13 Ways to Improve Your Finances This Year

13 Ways to Improve Your Finances This Year

01-2017

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By: Oana Schneider

13 Ways to Improve Your Finances This Year

If you feel like you need to improve your finances, you are not the only one. Let BBB® tell you all about these 13 ways to improve your finances this year. And no, you won’t have to cut back on anything. Isn’t that great?

1. Cancel a subscription

Think about all those magazines you get every month: how many of them do you really read? And if you have a gym membership, do you use it or it’s just draining your bank account for no reason? Be realistic about your expenses and your bank account will thank you!

2. Be in control of your bills

Most people don’t realize that they can lower their bills by negotiating a little! In fact, you can even lower your credit card rate- all you need to do is ask!

3. Increase your 401(k) contributions

An increase of 1 or 2 percent will go unnoticed in your everyday life, but it will make a world of difference when you retire!

4. Be serious about your savings

Here’s what you need to do: take a pen and a piece of paper and calculate how much money you need every month for groceries, medical expenses, mortgages, car payments, bills and fun money (dining out, going to the movies). Be realistic about it, though. When you have your total, compare it to your monthly earnings. You can send the money difference to your savings account. But who wants to deal with that every month? Fortunately, now you can make your savings automatic, which saves you a lot of trouble.

5. Start cooking

Almost a third of millennials’ paychecks goes to restaurants and dining out. If you are no chef but can cook a decent meal, it’s time you did that more often! Start with online recipes that are easy to follow and add as many vegetables to your meals as you can!

6. Make an extra payment toward your debts

Chances are, if you follow the previous steps, you will have a little more cash to play with. Instead of buying useless items, make an extra payment toward a debt. If you have a car payment or a mortgage, try adding $100 each month. It may not seem like much now, but it can shorten your loan period by a whole year!

7. Stop paying full price

Try to find a coupon or a discount code for everything you buy, from groceries to bigger items like electronics.

8. Switch to a cheaper car insurance

We know, your car insurance is great and the customer service is phenomenal, but chances are you can find something cheaper. All it takes is a few good minutes or thorough research and a lot of patience.

9. Check your bank statements every day

Set a daily alarm for you to check your bank statements. This way, you will be the first to know when fraudulent expenses are charged to your account!

10. Change all your passwords

We could all use better, stronger passwords, so why not start right now? For a better protection, choose at least 10 characters for your passwords, both upper and lower cases, plus numbers. This way, the fraudsters will find it harder to hack into your accounts.

11. Make a shopping list and stick to it

In fact, if you live in an area where you have the option of ordering your groceries online, you can consider yourself lucky! Only purchase the items you need, go pick up your order and don’t step inside the supermarket no matter what! If you don’t have this option in your area, you’ll need to practice your self-control:  take your list with you and try to stick to it.

12. Sell and donate

If your home is cluttered, it’s probably because there are a few things in there you’re not using anymore. And since they’re not paying you rent, it’s time to get rid of them! You can either sell them online or have a big garage sale in the spring. If you can’t sell an item or two, donate them. A cleaner house will always make you feel more accomplished and the extra cash won’t hurt either!

13. Have a no-spend weekend

This may not sound like fun, but it is! Once a month, try not to buy anything during the weekend: use up your pantry food, go to the park or read a good book, make your own coffee and play board games. On Sunday night, try calculating how much money you’ve saved- that number alone will make your entire day!

It’s very important that you take care of your finances, so bookmark these ideas and start saving money!
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville!

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Oana

Oana Schneider is our Director of Media Services. She writes consumer and business oriented articles and is in charge of our community outreach program.