It’s a new year – so what better time to look at your finances and set some goals! Do you dream of owning a house one day? Are you looking to save a little more for retirement? What about upgrading to a vehicle that doesn’t break down every week? Here are some ideas for New Years Resolutions that can help you reach your financial goals.
Build an emergency fund.
It’s impossible to know for sure what will happen tomorrow, next week, or 6 months down the road. Why not insure yourself against yourself? As soon as you receive your paycheck, contribute whatever amount you can to an emergency savings account. Whether it’s $5 or $150 every pay period, whatever you won’t miss, start building up a fund that you only access in the case of a true emergency. If you keep it separate from your spending accounts, you will be less inclined to tap into it for non-emergencies.
Focus on your credit report.
Your credit report is essentially your financial background check. More and more companies are pulling credit for everything from housing rentals to utility providers. Make sure you are aware of what’s on your credit report, and communicate with your creditors if you are unable to make your normal payments. You can pull your credit report for free once per year from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies. You can pull all 3 at once, or pull one every 4 months to see how your report changes over time. Visit annualcreditreport.com to learn more.
Spend less, save more.
Everyone wants to have a little more money left over at the end of the month, but short of getting a raise, it comes down to changing your spending habits. Take a look at your expenditures – where are you spending on things you want vs. need? Here are some ideas to help save a little extra each week.
- No spend days
Do you tend to make at least 1 purchase every day? Stop by the coffee shop on the way to work each morning? Try picking a day each week where you don’t spend a dime. Of course you will need to make sure you have food in the fridge, and gas in your cars’ tank, but try to not spend anything else.
- Bring lunch to work
It seems obvious, but packing a lunch can save you significantly over time. If you make a salad, sandwich, bring leftovers or pick up lunch supplies at the grocery store, you could save hundreds of dollars. If you typically spend $10 a work day to grab lunch somewhere, that adds up to about $2500 per year. If you plan ahead and bring your lunch, you could be saving over $1500 per year.
- Make coffee at home
Again, another obvious one. Coffee shops and drive-thrus are convenient – but they too add up! A $4 coffee per day adds up to about $1000 per year. Brewing it at home typically costs less than $0.20 per cup. Savings over the year? $950.
Create a budget, and stick to it.
Creating a budget is a challenge, sticking to it can be an even bigger challenge. The first step is to look at your income and expenses. Make sure you can cover all your debts first, then look at other things in order of priority. Don’t forget to plan for unexpected things like insurance, auto fuel, heating oil, etc.
Start, or maximize, your retirement contributions.
If you haven’t started to save for retirement, it’s never too early! Start tucking away a little money each month in a retirement account. Already saving? Try saving just a little more… like the emergency savings account, will you miss $5 more per week? What about $10?
Whatever your resolutions are for 2020, Saco Valley Credit Union is here to help you reach them. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you reach your goals.