5 Steps for Improving Your Finances in 2018

Making small strides over time will help you build a strong financial profile.

Don Milne Dec 27, 2017

Better personal finance management is often one of the top-cited New Year’s resolutions many people pledge every year, but it’s not uncommon for this goal to fall by the wayside during March or April of each year.

Making an effort to improve your finances is a worthy goal, but many people fall behind because they make ambitious efforts and become frustrated with the slow pace of progress. One of the most important things for anyone to understand is that improving your financial situation is not always a fast and easy process, but making small strides over time can help you build a strong and long-lasting financial profile.

Here are some quick steps you can take in 2018 to come out ahead:

1. Set measurable goals:

It’s not enough to say that you want to pay off your $10,000 credit card bill next year. Instead, set up a firm payment plan that allows you to track your success. This not only helps you know how much you must devote to your balance each month to reach your pay-off deadline, but also keeps you motivated because you can view your progress.

2. Curb unnecessary spending:

There are a number of “money wasters” that can make it difficult for you to save money or pay off debt. Finding your particular spending pitfalls that can be eliminated — discretionary purchases, eating out, nail and hair treatments, unused memberships — can help you keep more money in your pocket.

3. Seek out discounts on bills:

Many people don’t take the necessary steps to keep their spending to a minimum. Negotiating your credit card rate, switching to more affordable utilities providers and enrolling in online payments with your student loan and mortgage lender in exchange for an interest rate break can lead to more money saved.

4. Utilize a budget:

By curbing your spending, you may have more money in your pocket. However, learning how to maximize your income by budgeting smartly is also essential. A wise budget can assist you in accomplishing short and long-term goals that are priorities for you.

5. Maximize savings:

A traditional savings account is a great place to start, but you can generate even more wealth by utilizing the right type of tools and vehicles. For instance, opening a high-yield savings account or a certificate of deposit can help you enjoy higher savings rates. Contributing the maximum to your 401(k) or IRA also allows you to benefit from compound interest.

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