Getting back on track with your money in the New Year after a pandemic-filled 2021 is hard, but not impossible. Any financial discipline will hurt a bit, but in the long run, you will realize it all worked out for good. We have you covered on how to set financial goals for the New Year. Here is a complete guide to getting back on track with your money this New Year, no matter how difficult your previous year was.
First things first. Creating a budget is the first step to getting back on track. So, start by analyzing your income, expenses, and investments. You can either begin by writing down income and expenditures on paper or use a computer to download spreadsheet templates to make calculations and planning easier. There are plenty of financial resources, expert advice, and blogs available on the internet. You can make most of them to take control of your personal finance.
If you feel overwhelmed with too many calculations, you can always try line. Link your accounts and never worry about planning your finances again. Automated budgets, smart spending tips and saving options are your guide to personalized money management with line.
Paying off debt should be your priority. Do anything that is possible to get out of debt. If your debt is enormous, you can try your best to minimize how much you owe. If you plan to refinance, don’t delay until the following year. Interest rates have reached a historic low, but we don’t know when the rates will rise. It’s wise to lock in the present interest rate before it’s too late.
Once you know how much money is being spent in each category in your budget, you must start finding ways to save. If you have never thought about building an emergency fund yet, you can start saving in a high-yield savings account that can be accessed easily by you, your family or friends.
An emergency fund is vital because an unexpected expense can shatter your hard-earned financial progress or a long-term goal like a dream car. An emergency fund will help you face the unexpected.
Try to save as much as possible. Look for promotions, discounts, and coupons. Some people eat at a restaurant only if they have got a coupon. Other simple ways to save may be sharing a TV subscription, using public transport, or cutting down on expensive leisure. Several apps like line get you cash backs on your grocery bill.
The simplest way to build a retirement fund is contributing to a 401(k) when your employer offers matching contributions. Apart from that, you can set aside 10% of your monthly income every month for retirement.
Suppose your employer is already setting aside 4% of your annual income. In that case, you can contribute 6% so that 10% of your income will be saved for retirement.
Eat out on special occasions
Eating outside 3 or 4 times a week is normal when you and your spouse are working. But that money can be saved to reach your financial goals. You wouldn’t believe that couples have saved $2,600 to $5,200 a year eating less outside. You can transfer the savings to a high yield savings account and earn a little more cash from the interest rates.
You can also take out or visit the restaurant only if you get a coupon, promotion, or a discount. This way, you can relish your meal as well as save money. Try perfecting the recipe for your favorite dinner at home. You would save so much money, and cooking at home is healthier than restaurant food.
Take a look at all your subscriptions and see if you are using them to the fullest. If you are not, you can consider unsubscribing to some services. You can also consider sharing a subscription for streaming services. It’s advisable to subscribe to anything only if you make most of the service.
If you don’t get time to watch a movie every day and watch once a month, you can consider finding an alternative service, say pay per view or movie rentals, instead of paying for a subscription for the entire year.
Generally, low-risk investments get you low returns over a longer period, and high-risk investments will get you high returns in a short period. Invest with a long-term perspective and expect steady returns.
Keep diversifying your portfolio to minimize risk. If don’t know anything about investing, you can start afresh in 2022 with guidance from experienced investors.
Make a will
If you have assets, you must have a will. You don’t have to hire an expensive attorney for a will. Today, several online will makers like Quicken, Willmaker & Trust, and LegalZoom charge as little as $100.
Use credit card rewards
If you regularly use the credit card, don’t forget the redeem the credit card cashback, miles, or points rewards before it expires. You can also consider switching to a better credit card provider if you don’t usually get that many rewards from your current provider.
Insurance policies will save you when you least expect it. If you don’t have any insurance, take a look at various policies and sign up in 2022.
Get into the habit of reviewing your health, car, home, and life insurance policies every year. Ask yourselves these questions: Does it need an update? Are we paying more than others because new customers get offers and bonuses? Is the beneficiaries list up to date?
You can start saving for your children’s college education with a 529 plan — college savings account exempted from federal taxes. A 529 plan can work not only for college but for private school tuition as well. Surveys show that families don’t use the 529 plan to its full advantage. And only 30% of savings are in tax-advantaged 529 accounts.