We have twenty quick tips to help you feel not only better about your finances but hopefully accomplished! This is your checklist for the financial smarts you’ve always wanted.
1. Better finances for a better life. Did you know that it can be hard to live a healthy lifestyle because of poor finances? Money is a major stressor for many Americans, and stress can cause all kinds of issues like depression and anxiety.¹ Great news! If you’re reading this, you’re already one step closer to improving your financial wellness – and general well-being – because you’re focusing on how to have better success with money instead of stressing over money. Good job!
2. Write down three goals about money. When you write down your goals and dreams, you have a much better chance of making them happen. Feel free to use some of the tips listed here as potential goals. We don’t mind sharing.
3. Take a minute for your money. Payday is the perfect opportunity to make sure you’re confident about your cash flow. Take a moment, when you have that beautiful check in hand, to assess how you are going to use it.
4. Get the most out of your calendar. Did you know your calendar can help you improve your finances? You could use it to set alerts for paying bills, to remind you to check your credit report (more on that later) and remind you to assess your budget.
5. Make a budget. It’s like writing your goals: when you plan out how you earn and use each dollar, you’re more likely to manage it well. Bonus Tip: We’ve got online budgeting software, called Wallet, that can make it easier.
6. Track your expenses. When you keep track of and review what you spend, you may be able to (1) make a more accurate budget to reflect cash flow, (2) notice any spending habits (like irregular expenses) you might want to adjust, and (3) have a clearer picture of how you use your money. Bonus Tip: Ask your Money Coach about worksheets specifically designed to help with tracking!
7. Consider saving now. Not when you get your next paycheck or when you get a raise. Now. The sooner you start, the more you’ll save, even if it’s as simple as putting change in a jar. Trust us, it adds up. Say you have $0.30 in your pocket each day. And each day you move it to a jar. if you do that for a year, you’ll collect over $100. That’s a lot of change!
8. Speaking of saving, consider using a savings account for the big bucks. Why? Keeping your savings in your checking account makes it way too easy and tempting to spend it on nonessential stuff.
9. Be future focused. Whether you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a defined contribution plan through your employer – like a 401(k), or something else, consider your savings for the future and regularly assess your potential income in retirement to see if adjustments are needed.
10. Don’t leave money on the table. Some employers will match their employees’ contributions to the defined contribution plan. Are you contributing enough money to your 401(k) to get the full match from your employer? If not, take a look at your monthly budget and consider if you can afford to put more of your paycheck towards the contribution in order to get the full match.
11. The power of automatic deposits. Setting up automatic deposits for your savings and retirement accounts can make it easier to stay committed and consistent with contributions.
12. Give yourself a pat on the back. Really! You’re over halfway through our list, and one of the ways to make progress is to celebrate progress – even the little things. When you’re working towards a goal, plan to celebrate with something small when you get halfway and when you reach the finish line. You’re worth it.
13. Annually check your credit reports because they can alert you to identity theft, show errors that might be hurting your credit score and more. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three major bureaus, every twelve months, and you can request your credit report via annualcreditreport.com.
14. Protect your finances. Identity theft affects millions of people each year, and it can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Ask your Money Coach about identity theft protection services and steps you might take to help protect your finances.
15. A raise in savings for a raise in salary. Consider doing yourself (and your financial future) a favor by increasing your savings contributions when you get a raise, instead of raising the amount you spend each month.
16. Use your bonus wisely. As tempting as it might be to splurge the extra cash you have in hand, consider putting it towards debt to help you in the long run, rather than spending it on a temporary experience like a fancy restaurant.
17. Why spend more than you have to? Whether you’re running errands or planning family activities, always check for available coupons, rebates and promo codes.
18. A family affair. Staying in the budget to save for a trip to Disneyland can be a lot easier when the whole family collaborates. Share financial goals with your kids so they can help you stay the course.
19. Money doesn’t have to be taboo or a source of conflict between you and your loved one. A Money Coach can help facilitate conversations as a nonjudgmental third-party.
20. Accountability and support. A Money Coach can also provide additional education on the points provided here, and answer questions. Call 888-724-2326 to get started.
¹Stress in America 2020: A National Mental Health Crisis. APA, Oct. 2020. Web. Accessed 7 May 2021. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2020/report-october.
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