Spring Cleaning: Starting Over With Your Finances

Did you know that 80% of people fail their New Year’s resolutions by February?

If your resolution is about getting your financial house in order, you probably want to be part of the 20% that actually succeeds. Right?

We know. Resolutions are hard to keep. So, we’re here to help you spring clean your finances and start fresh. Here are our 5 top tips to help you successfully manage your money this year.

1. Create A Budget

It’s important to understand how much money you have coming in and going out. This way, you’re less likely to overspend. Plus, you may even save more money every month. How do you do that? By creating a budget that works for you right now.

A budget is the first step to getting a headstart on a great financial new year. Your budget should include your income, as well as fixed and variable expenses.

If you have never created a budget before, you can write out your income and expenses on a sheet of paper, or use an app like Every Dollar, Mint, or Good Budget. You can then start tracking your spending and setting financial goals. Want to keep things simple? Try the 50/30/20 budgeting technique.

2. Switch Banks

If one of your resolutions is to save money, you should make sure you’re not paying bank fees. It’s also a wise idea to have a savings account that helps you automate. This way you can save without even thinking about it. If your current bank is costing you money, it may be time to switch banks.

Remember: You don’t have to be stuck with a mediocre bank account. In fact, many online banks and credit unions charge low or no fees, and offer programs to help you save money.

For example, a Chime bank account has no fees ever. With a Chime account, you can also automate your savings via round ups and pay yourself first.

3. Set Goals For Your Money

If you’re looking to save money to buy a new home, travel, or start a business, you need to set financial goals.

For starters, ask yourself what you want to accomplish this year. Then, actually come up with a plan to save money so that you can actually achieve your goals. For example, if you want to travel overseas, figure out how much money you will need to take the trip. From there, set a savings goal and begin saving money with each paycheck. Finally, once you’ve achieved this, start planning and paying for your trip!

What if you can already afford to travel or make a big purchase? You can still have goals! Save more, invest more, or donate it to your favorite charity.

4. Start Investing Now

Have you saved any money for retirement yet? Now is the perfect time to start.

One of the best ways to start investing is through a work-sponsored 401(k). If you are self-employed, or if your 9-to-5 job doesn’t offer a 401(k) plan, you can still open your own individual retirement account (IRA), as well as invest in other ways.

Apps like Acorns, for example, can help you invest automatically with minimal monthly amounts. When you’re ready to invest more, you then check out options like Betterment or Wealthfront.

Remember: you don’t need a ton of money to start investing. Even if it’s just a few dollars, take some time to make sure you’re investing in yourself and preparing for a better financial future.

5. Keep Your Information Secure

In 2016, $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers, according to the 2017 Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research and reported by the Insurance Information Institute.

In order to protect your financial information from would-be thieves, it’s important keep your data secure and make sure you shred bills and bank statements after you’ve reviewed the documents. In addition, you can keep passwords secure by using a system like LastPass. LastPass saves all of your passwords and allows you to access a site securely without the need to remember your password. And, if you have to share your information with someone, LastPass makes it easy to do so – without giving away your password. Instead, LastPass provides that person with login information, without allowing them to view your secret word.

Other ways to protect your personal information include changing your passwords often, choosing a hard to guess password, and keeping software on your devices updated. Also, be wary of phishing scams, and don’t click on emails or sites that aren’t secure or that you’ve never heard of before.

Just Do It

While spring cleaning your finances may seem overwhelming, if you follow these 5 steps you’ll be on your way to financial success in 2018. You can do this!

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