With 2021, it is the perfect time to evaluate your financial situation and improve your financial health.
Big Items First:
1. Pay Off Credit Card Debt
Make a list of your credit cards, your balances, and your payment date. Also make a call and check the APR or % you are paying per year for that balance.
Start with the largest amount and highest APR – and start focusing on getting it paid down. You may also look at the smallest balance and work to pay that off first. Just look at the options and get focused.
– The other credit cards- pay more than the minimum each month (even if a small amount over).
– Look at low balance transfers to move debt out of high interest credit cards. Transfer fees may be 3-5% but this is typically better than the interest rate on the credit card
– Depending on the debt, you may pay off the debt with a home equity loan. Home equity interest is deductible – also, caution to those who do not pay on time…failure to pay may lead to foreclosure on your home.
2. Trim that Budget
Now is a great time to cut the budget and stick to it. Cancel cable, dine out less, and shop at discount places or go through your closet. This can be temporary or permanent but is a flexible situation. Look at things you spend money on and consider making some changes.
3. Create a Will. And Medical Power of Attorney.
A will is important. Should you die, you decide the estate, the children (if you and a spouse pass), avoid probate (in many cases), make donations, decide who makes decisions (executor), minimize taxes, and you can disinherit anyone you want.
A medical power of attorney is someone authorized to make medical decisions on your behalf of you are incapacitated. Medical power of attorney representative decides on withdrawing, giving medical or surgical treatments.
4. Make extra mortgage payments.
Every little bit helps! $100 a month, an extra payment a year…anything over time can make a huge difference. Paying an extra payment per year will equate to years off the loan.
Any monies on selling items I had went to the mortgage fund. Over time, it made a huge difference.
5. Evaluate Purchases by Cost Per Use
Think about the hoodie – is the $30 really better than the $5.00 hoodie? Or if you are wearing it daily should you splurge on the better quality?
I am a huge proponent of this factor. There was an amazing pair of boots for $275 Marc Fisher boots – I knew I would wear them at most 15 times…I found the Walmart dupe for $24 and bought brown and khaki and still stayed way under budget. Don’t get me wrong – I love the Marc Fisher but I can find quite a few ways to spend approximately $225 that does not involve boots
6. Spend money on experiences and not things
If you are spending money, then make it mean something. A concert, a trip, a picnic, a basketball game – these items are much more fulfilling than things.
7. Plan for Retirement
After getting your debt under control, then focus on retirement. Working for a school district, options include 403b or 457 Roth so a lot of money can be saved with maximum benefits. The more money you put in today, the more time it has to grow through compound growth.
8. Curb Overspending
Most people overspend in 3 ways: overspend on house, overspend on car, and overspend on entertainment.
Think about the size of house and cost of what is best for you, consider a more affordable car or plan to keep it longer once it is paid for, and entertainment – the number of trips, dining out, etc.
Hope this helps you think about your spending and how you might curb some spending!