Spring Your Finances ForwardBy Caitlin in Money
The start of Daylight Savings Time is the first sign that spring is finally on its way, even though the weather seems like we’ll be stuck in winter for forever. Since you might be confined to your homes to hide from the snow and cold temperatures for a couple more weeks, we think it’s a great idea to take advantage of that extra day light and work on your finances.
Spring forward into better financial habits and challenge yourself to get organized, save more money and curb unnecessary spending. Here are 8 ways to improve your financial health and kick start your spring.
1. Set some goals.
Setting goals will help you to keep on track and monitor your successes and failures. Your goals should be personal and based on what you’d like to achieve. Whether it’s paying off some credit card debt, saving for a summer vacation or simply improve your overall financial health. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and keep in mind that these goals are meant to help you and challenge you, not cause problems.
2. Save $1 every day.
In addition to the goals you set yourself, try transferring one dollar a day to your savings account. This is an exercise to get you to be aware of your finances and deal with them on a daily basis. So don’t transfer seven dollars once a week because that will defeat the whole purpose of the exercise. Not only will this exercise make you deal with your finances on a regular basis it will help jump start your savings account and hopefully create long lasting healthy financial habits.
3. Cut out a daily treat.
If you’re anything like the average person then you probably like to treat yourself at least once a day, whether it’s with a morning coffee or an after work drink. We love to treat yourselves too and don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, but the cost of your daily coffee can start to add up. So for at least the length of Daylight Savings Time (it ends on November 1st this year) cut out your daily treat and watch your savings account grow, a lot, you’ll be surprised.
Bonus points if you match the cost of your daily treat and put the amount straight into your savings account. We bet by November you’ll have saved over $2000.
4. Cut out a monthly expense.
Now that you’ve cut out a daily expense why not take it one step further and cut out an unnecessary monthly expense. For the most part monthly expenses are typically necessary, we’re not asking you to stop paying your rent or cancel your full cell phone plan, just look for something to cut back on. Do you have an extensive cable or satellite plan with a 100 channels you never watch? Are you paying too much for your cell phone? Or maybe you spend a lot of your extra money on going out on the weekends. If you’re really motivated to get your finances into order this spring, it probably won’t be hard for you to find something to cut back on.
5. Find a financial advisor who you like.
Financial advisors are great, they typically have years of experience under their belts and can advise you on what to do with your money and how to start. One thing that we recommend you do is find an advisor who you like, or at least work well with. There’s nothing worse than a financial advisor who doesn’t understand your financial situation and gives you all the wrong tips. Don’t feel like you have to stick with the first advisor you meet, move on if you feel like they have nothing to offer you.
6. Check your credit report.
Most people know they have a credit report and a credit score but they never take the time to check them. If there is anything wrong with your credit, like errors or even identity fraud, your credit report will show it. Don’t go over board and check it every week, 3 or 4 times a year should be often enough to catch any issues.
7. Work on eliminating bad habits.
Spring is a season for change and renewal, so take this time and use it to get rid of bad financial habits. These bad financial habits, that we all have, are often created out necessity and sometimes laziness. Whether it’s using your credit card to pay for things you can’t afford or constantly ignoring your budget, use the next couple of months to implement new better financial habits. Create a more realistic budget so you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Always make sure you have to cash to pay off your credit card before you charge something to it. Act like you care about your financial health and soon these small changes will become life long healthy habits.
8. Stop paying unnecessary banking charges.
Banking charges might seem insignificant to you, what’s $1 here and $0.30 there? Sometimes they are unavoidable and have to be paid, but more often than not they are completely your own fault and are costing you a lot of money. Call up your bank and see if you qualify for an account that has fewer fess, or simply research the fees associated with your current account and figure out ways to avoid paying them. If you’re currently being charged a fee for receiving your monthly statement on paper than look into online banking. Most fees can be avoided, so take charge and figure out how to avoid them.
If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to start fresh with your finances then now is the time. Use the start of spring to take control of your financial life and work hard to create good financial habits, save money and achieve your goals!