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End The Year on Top with These Financial Tips

It seems like 2018 was just beginning and next week is already Christmas, which means the year is coming to a close, whether we are ready or not.  Now is typically a good time to review the progress you have made in the year, or lack thereof.  While you may not have carried out your resolution of losing twenty pounds, it’s a good time to strive for something more important, which is securing your financial future.  It’s easy to put off saving or getting out of credit card debt, but the earlier you start, the longer you have to get ahead and really watch your money grow, instead of living paycheck to paycheck and paying back interest every month.  By making a few adjustments to your financial picture, you end 2019 with a solid foundation to begin 2019.

Start Building Up an Emergency Fund

You never what is going to come up so it’s always best to be as prepared as you can be.  You could be going along sticking to a budget every month and then all of sudden you get hit with an auto repair bill that completely throws your budget out of whack, and because you have nothing saved up, you have to put on a credit card and go into debt.  But saving up a few months’ worth of reserves, you can give yourself a needed cushion for the unexpected.

Reduce Unnecessary Expenses

Speaking of a budget, it’s great if you are able to create one, but the hardest part is actually sticking to it.  It’s hard to limit spending, and often people just give up after a while.  If you are able to reduce unnecessary expenses, you can watch the savings add up and shift your extra money towards something more important.  By cutting items such as going out to eat every meal (once in a while is fine, but every meal out adds up quickly), the cable bill and opting for a streaming service, and even limiting online shopping, you could see hundreds of extra dollars add up in a month, just by cutting back even a little.

Get Out of Credit Card Debt

It’s easy to put purchases on a credit card, after all you don’t see money change hands, so you can continue to swipe and come home with plenty of new purchases without anyone telling you to stop, that is, until you get the credit card statement and wonder how you will pay it.  If you are not able to pay the full statement balance by the due date, you will begin paying interest which could create a financial disaster if you continue to spend but cannot pay the balance down or off.

Don’t Miss Out on Free Money

There are plenty of opportunities to save money without having to sit down with the Sunday paper and clip coupons, although that is still a smart way to save money on your grocery bill.  If you are able to keep credit card spending to only the necessities, you can earn free points or even cashback on those purchases by using a rewards credit card which could add up to hundreds of free dollars a year, depending how much you spend.  You can also ensure you are capturing every dollar that your company will contribute to your 401k account so that you can make retirement a priority, that we will discuss next.

Make Retirement Savings a Priority

Although it may even be decades away until retirement and you have a list of other priorities, that doesn’t mean you should shift all of your focus to today, and you should still keep your nest egg in the back of your mind.  By contributing the most you can afford towards retirement now, with the hope of increasing each year until you’re maxed out, you can finally walk away from work and life out all of the life experiences you want to achieve, without the daily grind of a day job.

Think Outside the Box

Handling the finances is not an easy job, otherwise everyone would have a successful budget, have no credit card debt, and have money saved for retirement, but that’s just not the case.  You shouldn’t have the entire financial burden on your shoulders, so it’s a good idea to even consult a family member or friend that you trust, even a financial professional, to give you all of the right tips to set yourself up for success in the long run, and it will take a lot of work, but will be worth it!

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