The end of each year usually invokes a desire within us to make all sorts of promises to live better in the following year, however, the truth is that our well-intended goals are usually consigned to the dustbin of history by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. Here are 10 financial resolutions that are really worth keeping:
1. Pay off high-interest credit cards
The average household debt in the United States stands at $15,482, coupled with an average credit card interest rate of 13.08%. The US Federal Reserve is due to spike interest rates at least three times over the course of the next year, so the sooner you get rid of your credit card debt, the better.
2. Automate payments
Late payment fees can be utterly exorbitant, so that’s why you should automate payments to your creditors for your monthly bills. Not only will this save you a ton of money on late fees, but certain lenders and utility companies offer reduced interest rates and/or other benefits when you make use of their automated payment services.
3. Build an emergency fund
With unemployment in the US at its lowest rate that it has been in 50 years, now’s a better time than ever to look for a better career opportunity. That’s why you should give your resume a refresh. If you need to, go out, invest in yourself and improve your skills by attending seminars and classes.
4. Check your credit reports
The three main US credit rating reporting agencies all offer access to credit reports once a year free of charge via annualcreditreport.com. If you’ll be checking your credit rating for the first time in a while, be sure to get all three credit reports at the same time. You should also consider getting on a system that allows you to request one report every four months.
5. Plan your vacation
Most people start thinking about their summer vacation in March or April, around the time they’re likely to book their airfares and hotels. Try making it easier on yourself by opening a separate savings account for your next vacation, and paying into it every month. This will save you a whole load of stress when the time comes for you to go off on your travels.
6. Take on a side hustle
Some 70% of Americans need to make extra cash somehow in order to make ends meet. With that being said, there are many who are not willing to commit to a second job or give up their nights or weekends and be away from their families. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways to make money from a “side hustle” that doesn’t need a huge commitment in order for you to see results.
7. Set yourself up for a promotion
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that some 70.25% of all US industries saw average salary increases between 2016 and 2017. This means that the likelihood of getting a promotion is in your favor. Just be direct with your request, and well-rehearsed in terms of what you can expect to earn, as well as the reasons why you deserve the pay rise.
8. Cut back subscription and monthly bill costs
If you’ve made subscriptions to things that you don’t really need, then simply cancel them. Think about this in terms of real-life membership costs too. For instance, if you haven’t used your gym membership lately, is working out at home an option for you?
9. Curb your impulses
Although that $500 jacket you’ve had your eye on would look great on you, how many times are you really going to wear it? Settle yourself before you spend, and always think of the long-term when making choices, rather than instant gratification.
10. Re-vamp your resume
Regardless of whether you received a raise this year or not, you should increase your retirement contributions. Just a 1-2% increase doesn’t seem like much, but it’ll have a significant impact on the amount of money you have saved for your retirement over time.