Each year we say we’re gonna get it together in all aspects of our life. Money is one of the toughest especially in this economy. But check out these tips to getting your financial affairs in order this year so that each and every one to come will be a breeze!
1.Cut out the crap: Ok, make a list of everything you spend money on in a month. Obviously you can’t cut out the electric bill or groceries but you can live without your daily Starbucks or that magazine you buy every month and never read. be honest with yourself and make adjustments by making your lattes at home, reading that article online or cutting out those things that you’re throwing your money away on. A great exercise is to keep every receipt from every purchase you make for a week. You’d be surprised how quickly purchases add up and how little you have to show for it.
2. DIY: Find ways to do things yourself or at least do them cheaper. As mentioned above, make your own coffee or smoothies instead of spending $5 a day on your fix. Brown bag your lunch, watch your favorite shows online and can you your cable service. While it may seem like a pain at first, you’ll see how quickly you adjust to your new, affordable habits. The extra funds in your account will be enough to keep you on track!
3. Contribute holiday cash to an IRA: Did you receive some cash from gramma? Have a small chunk of savings just sitting around? Make it work for you by contributing to an IRA before you file your taxes.
4. Write-off resolution-related expenses: Join a weight loss program? Visiting a dietician or nutritionist? Keep your recepits this year, some of this stuff might qualify as a tax write-off, easily boosting your refund and putting more cash in your pocket with little effort.
5. Charity helps you and others: Charity is a great way to give back, either through volunteering your time or giving money or goods like used clothing. Don’t forget the monetary benefits of giving. Start 2012 right by keeping track of what you give for a refund booster on your tax return.
6. Save without lifting a finger: Reduce your taxable income next year by choosing to automatically contribute to your 401(k) next year, and set-up a free high-yield savings account online where you start by contributing even a small amount, say $25 per pay period, to an account you can’t easily drain.
7. Pay down debts: Too often we make lofty goals when it comes to paying down debt. Start with one credit card and focus in on one realistic first step, like doubling minimum payments toward one card with the highest interest, then slowly expand once you can meet this goal without skewing any of your other finances toward the negative.
8. Go Green: Yeah, conserving water and power, shopping locally and living greener also means saving green!