Did you know that January is Financial Wellness Month? Many people make health-related New Year’s Resolutions, but the beginning of the year is also a good time to do a well-being check on the health of your finances. Paying down debt or saving money for retirement is always a good idea, but financial expert Gregg Murset, CEO of BusyKid, recommends that people make more specific goals towards a year of financial health. Here are five money changes to make in 2018.
Skip Paper for Plastic
Wait…what? Many financial gurus recommend ditching cards for cash. But when you shop with cash it can be harder for you to track where you spend your money. Plus, you miss out on benefits like credit card points. By using a card for your purchases, you can more easily budget how much you spend on food, gas, entertainment, and other items each month. You will be able to spot where you can cut spending and identify money that can be saved or invested.
Overcome Investing Fears
According to Gallup, in 2016 only 52 percent of U.S. adults owned stock, including individual stock, a stock mutual fund, or a self-directed 401(k) or IRA. You don’t have to be incredibly wealthy to be an investor. Start small and decide, based on your age and financial health, how much risk you can afford. Get kids involved in investing as well by using BusyKid to teach them about earning, saving, and investing.
Americans spend a lot of extra money on conveniences—from a morning latte to a prepared lunch from the grocery store to dinner out. There are probably many places you spend money that could be eliminated to create more opportunities for savings. Try making morning coffee at home and meal-prepping lunch for the week over your weekend. The savings will really add up!
While charity organizations certainly appreciate financial donations, your time is also valuable. If you cannot afford to donate money to a local charity, volunteer instead. Recruit friends and family to volunteer with you to make the experience a shared reward.
Get a Crystal Ball
When you are just saving to save it can be hard to stay motivated. Choose a personal goal or an experience for your family that you want to accomplish this year. Write it down, print out photos that represent it, and hang a sign in a prominent place as a reminder. Making your goal tangible can help you stay on track and motivate you to say no to going to the movies, buying new shoes that you do not need, or other small, dispensable purchases.