Hello and welcome back to our 5 Part Blog series on Improving your Financial Health in 2014. In today’s blog we have 10 more tips that will help you to clean up your financial act this year and help you to meet all of your financial goals. So without further ado, let’s get started. Enjoy.
Tip 6: Organization is the key to financial success.
As any adult knows, practically anything that has to do with money or finances comes with an awful lot of paperwork. The majority of that paperwork, including tax documents, receipts and so forth, should be held onto for at least a few years. In fact, some states require you keep them for 10 years. On the other hand, there’s quite a bit that can be tossed in the trash once it’s been properly shredded. Storing your documents, especially if you live in an area of the country prone to natural disasters, should be in containers that are relatively weatherproof. Using a system that you can find at any office supply store to organize everything is a good idea as well. The more organized you are the easier it will be to get your finances in order.
Tip 7: Avoid debt at all costs.
If that sounds too simplistic, it is. Simply put, unless you can afford to pay something off completely you shouldn’t purchase it, and you should cut back on unnecessary expenses of any and all kinds. In short, live below your means so that you never go into debt and have money left over to put towards savings, an emergency account or a retirement account.
Tip 8: Talk to your partner about finances.
Over 50% of married couples in the United States get divorced and over 80% of those people site “money problems” as the root of their divorce. (Infidelity notwithstanding.) If you’re keen on staying together and having a blissful married life, talk to your spouse about household expenses, credit card debt and your long-term financial goals.
Tip 9: If you’re not happy with your bank, get a new one.
Here’s the thing; banks are businesses. If you don’t like the salon you go to, you switch. If you’re not happy with your grocery store, you switch. The same thing should go for your bank. If they have high fees, lousy customer service or you’re just not happy with what they’re giving you for your business, switch. It might take a little bit of energy to find a new, better bank but it’s worth it in most cases.
Tip 10: Put your savings on “autopilot”.
This one simply means that if one of your goals is to save more money this year, fund your retirement account or put together an emergency savings account, look into automatic deposits that take the money directly out of your check and deposit it directly into your savings account. It’s easy, automatic and one of the best ways to save because it takes the weekly decision out of your hands.
Tip 11: Start using online financial tools.
In today’s Internet/smart phone/24 hour connected society there are plenty of online tools and smart phone apps that can help you to keep your finances in order. For example, Mint.com is free, comes with its own app and helps you to budget your money. It’s easy, it’s free and you should be taking advantage of it or any of the other dozens of similar services.
Tip 12: Use stronger passwords and change them occasionally.
Identity theft is going to be one of the unfortunate trends of 2014. If you’d like to avoid being a victim, one of the best ways to do it is to use difficult passwords and change them regularly (like every three months). There are apps and online services that can help you to keep track of them if necessary.
Tip 13: Use common sense when banking online.
It’s surprising how many people let common sense fly out the window when they’re doing their banking through their computer. Just like in the past where it was not a good idea to click on an email that you didn’t recognize, “friending” someone online or inputting personal information using public Wi-Fi is a big no-no. There are just too many different ways a scammer can steal your information and your money so be vigilant, be careful and be alert.
Tip 14: Get rid of your expensive TV cable bill and start watching online.
There are so many different ways to cheaply watch TV these days that paying exorbitant cable prices for TV just isn’t worth it anymore. From news shows to sports, movies and anything else you might enjoy watching, almost all of it can be found for free online or at a very low cost using services like Netflix.
Tip 15: Make a note to yourself to come back for Part 3 of our 5 Part Blog series.
We think this one is self-explanatory. See you next time!