Here are a few tips for 2020 that will help you keep your finances in order throughout the coming year.
Tips posted by John Pettit, Managing Editor for CUInsight.com
1. Take a look at your credit
If you’ve never paid close attention to your credit score, it’s probably time. With apps and computers just an arm’s length away, it’s pretty easy to stay connected to our finances. When you’re young and don’t own anything, it can be really easy to not care too much about your credit and it’s high or low existence. But if you’re ready to buy a house or you’ve just flat out neglected your finances, keeping the pulse of your credit score can be very important. With cybersecurity such an issue these days, knowing your credit score is a great way to know if you’ve taken a financial hit from any sort of fraud or data breach. You can check your credit score anytime for FREE with First Trust’s 24/7 online banking or mobile banking. If you’re not aware, you’re also entitled to a free credit report from each credit reporting agency every year, so don’t let the fear of having to pay for one stop you.
2. Take a look at your credit
Even if you did a bang-up job of saving money in 2019, I’d be more than willing to bet that you don’t have as much saved as you’d like to right now. Fortunately, it’s the beginning of the year and there are many ways to reach your savings goals by December. One way is to automate your savings. I’m not sure of the last time I heard about someone having to take their paycheck to their local branch and deposit it, so I’m sure you probably have direct deposit. It’s really easy to add another account to your direct deposit, so pick a percentage you’d like to save and redirect those funds to your savings account. Another way to save is to bulk up your retirement savings. Hopefully your work participates in your retirement contributions, and if that contribution is a match of what you’re putting in, be smart, take that free money and max out those contributions. You won’t regret the lower net pay when you’re older and looking at your last few months in the workplace. The last way to save is to go on a spending fast. I don’t know your spending habits, but I guarantee that 100% of your spending doesn’t fall in the “need” category. Take a look at how you’re spending your money and cut out some of the “wants”. Also, be realistic and don’t waste money. If you’re not going to the gym, don’t pay for the membership.
3. Expect the unexpected
If your emergency fund isn’t in shape, get to work on it. If you’ve got debt that has been lingering for far too long, don’t let it stick around for another year. And if your budget has some holes in it, plug them. You may do a good job of keeping track of your monthly bills, but how about those annual ones that you can sometimes forget about? You know about the monthly fee you pay to your gym, but how about that yearly maintenance fee that can sneak up on you? And if you have to pay hundreds of dollars in vehicle property taxes each year, how often do you forget about paying that until the month it’s due? This year, when those “surprise” bills come up, make a list so you won’t forget about them going forward.