Are you starting the New Year with less money in your bank account than you’d like? Maybe Christmas shopping hit your wallet a little harder than you expected, or unforeseen expenses have kept your savings from growing this holiday season. It can be a tough time of year for your finances, and no one likes being broke. So, what can you do to recover from the expense of the holiday season and get your finances back on track in 2018? Use these 5 tips to give yourself a money make-over in the New Year!
The best way to save to earmark a certain amount of money from each paycheck, and with today’s technology, this is probably one of the easiest ways to grow your savings. When you set up direct deposit with your bank, you can automatically direct part of your earnings directly to a savings account, retirement fund or emergency fund. Putting your savings on cruise control is a great way to keep yourself on track for more savings in the year to come.
The great thing is, with a banking app for your phone, you can receive low balance alerts, transfer funds between accounts and monitor all of your accounts. This might prove to be a bit of a balancing act at first, so if you need a little help at first, don’t be afraid to get the help you need. With a little practice, you’ll soon find that online banking and direct deposit are some of your best allies when it comes to saving.
There’s just something about change clinking into a jar that sounds like progress. If you’re suffering the after effects of a swipe-happy holiday season with debit and credit cards, it may be time to put yourself on a cash-only spending system. After determining your weekly budget, withdraw that amount in cash and use it for all your purchases. This encourages you to spend less, and all the pocket change you add to your jar at the end of the day is extra savings.
Your bank may also offer programs like Bank of America’s Keep the Change or Wells Fargo’s Way2Save app, which rounds each purchase you make up to the nearest dollar and automatically adds the difference to your savings account. This method is made for fans of set-it-and-forget-it savings options, as well as people who simply can’t bear the thought of going plastic-free.
There are a million apps on the Google Play and iTunes app marketplaces that were designed to make your life easier, so why not use one to simplify your financial life as well?
One shining example is Mint – this clever app gives you great insight into your finances and categorizes your spending, allowing you to easily track and pay your bills. Mint breaks down your finances and makes them as easy to understand as they are to manage, so you know in advance if you are good to go or on your way to needing a New Mexico auto title loan to make it through the month.
This tip may seem a bit obvious, but brown-bagging it and making your own home-cooked meals can save you big bucks over the drive-thru or ordering in. If you’ve developed a habit of eating out over your lunch break, you’re spending money that could be going toward something you need more than a cheeseburger and a spare tire around your middle. If this sounds like you, examine your finances and see how much you spend on eating out each month. Eliminating this daily expense will grow your savings, and probably shrink your waistline.
We all have a bad habit or two. By matching your bad habits dollar per dollar in savings you will discourage yourself from spending frivolously, and when you do you replace the cost in your savings account. For example, let’s say you’re feeling lazy one morning and decide to buy a $5 coffee on your way to work instead of bringing a thermos from home. No harm, no foul, but you need to transfer $5 from your checking account into your savings. This ensures that even when you do splurge, you save.
No matter what aspect of your life you want to improve, our habits are important factors in shaping who we are and where we’re going in life. Bad habits can hold us back from reaching our personal goals, good habit can steer us in the direction of personal and financial success. After all, developing good financial habits could mean the difference between having more money in your pocket next year, and who wouldn’t want that?