7 steps to get financially fit in 2018
(NewsUSA) – While many of us vow to get to the gym for our New Year’s resolution, you may want to consider getting fit in your 2018 personal finances.
Here are seven money moves to make this New Year:
1. Declutter and sell. Have an aunt that gives you an ugly sweater every holiday? Consider selling your unwanted clothes, gift cards, electronics, and the like, online. Sites such as Raise, thredUP, and Ebay are great places to sell your unwanted items and earn extra cash.
2. Start investing. Investing doesn’t have to be scary. And you can start small (such as taking the extra cash you earned from selling your unwanted items!). The easiest way to start investing is to make sure you are enrolled in your employers’ retirement savings plan. You can also use apps such as Stash, Robinhood, or Acorns to begin.
3. Check your credit report. Planning on making any big purchases in 2018? Your credit report contains information about the status of your credit accounts and your bill-paying history. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends checking your report at least once a year, and check again before applying for loans for big purchases such as cars or a home. Keep in mind that if your credit is frozen, you can anticipate a $20-$30 charge to unfreeze your credit so a report can be run.
4. Make a plan to ditch your debt. Evaluate all the different loans and any credit card debt that you’ve accrued and consider combining them into a single loan with one easy payment. A loan with LendingClub transfers all your different debts into one place, and with a much lower interest rate.
“Managing one payment is a lot easier,” says Alia Dudum, consumer debt expert for LendingClub. With lower interest rates on your debt through loan consolidation, you’re setting 2018 up as your best year yet.”
5. Create a budget. Ah, the dreaded “B” word. To avoid taking on even more debt in 2018, make a budget to plan your spending. Think about your net income, allocate 10 percent of your paycheck to your savings, itemize necessary expenses, and then you an use what’s leftover for vacations, shopping, and eating out.
6. Take a money minute. Get into the habit of scheduling time to look at your spending and checking in on your financial goals. Put an alert on your calendar to check it once a week. You should also make this a family affair by scheduling meetings with your spouse, parents and children to talk about your financial status and your financial goals.
7. Reward yourself. If your downfall is spending and racking up credit card debt, for example, allocate a small amount of money to treat yourself to something small once you have reached a specific financial goal, such as paying off that one credit card, not eating out every day, or sticking to your budget.