We’ve just started a new year, and for a lot of us that means now is the time to try some new initiatives and start working toward new goals. This might mean anything from losing a few pounds to finding a new job, with all kinds of possibilities in between. But one resolution that just about everyone can get behind is the idea of becoming more savvy when it comes to personal financial management.
The truth is that personal finance can never truly be mastered. Whether you feel this is an area where you could use improvement or you’re already pretty good at handling your income and investments, it’s not a bad idea to start off 2017 with a refresher on some helpful strategies. Without further ado, here are a few tips that can help you to handle your money more effectively in the year ahead.
1. Try To Reduce Your Debts
It’s always a good idea to be paying down debts as a priority. But you can also try to get them reduced through various means. This might mean shifting a balance from a high-interest credit card to a different one. It could also mean attempting to refinance loans related to education, car payments, or even your mortgage. These are processes you’ll need to educate yourself on as you go, but they’re overlooked by far too many people! This year, make it a priority to try to get any existing debts minimized.
2. Cut Out One Needless Expense
Most of us can think of one or two (or perhaps even several) things we spend money on that we don’t really need to. Depending on the nature of these needless expenses, they can actually be easy to cut out. For example, if you’re spending $5 a day or more on lattes, you might want to consider buying an espresso maker for your home and cutting out the café expenses. Maybe you’re still subscribed to a video or music streaming service that you’ve moved on from. Identifying one or two things like this and eliminating them can make for a satisfying start to the year.
3. Use A Financial Tracking Tool
Tracking finances and managing your own budget has never been easier. This is because of the finance category in app markets, which has exploded with sleek and helpful options that can do all kinds of nice favors for you and your wallet. Last spring, Forbes wrote up a list of 12 free apps that can help you to keep tabs on your spending, and each and every one of them comes with significant benefits. You’d be doing yourself a favor to check a few of them out and find one that works for you.
4. Consider A Mutual Fund
Part of personal financial strategy should include setting up investments that can put your money to work for you. The trouble is that most of us don’t really have time to be tracking portfolios, nor the funds to pay high-end account managers to do it for us. The solution for a lot of people is to look into mutual funds, which are described as funds that pool money from a group of investors, and which are managed by professionals. You do need to pay fees in these funds, but the idea is that they don’t suck up any of your time, and they’re almost automatically diversified for purposes of long-term growth. It’s not for everybody, but it’s never a bad time to consider it.
5. Open Your Mind To Supplemental Work
Finally, depending on the nature of your day job, you might want to start off the year considering some kind of light supplemental work. More and more people are doing some sort of freelance or independent work from home, whether that means selling crafts online, helping others with web design, tutoring, or all kinds of other possibilities. It’s easier than ever to find odd jobs on the internet, and if you find a niche you’re comfortable with then you could start bringing in a few hundred extra dollars here and there.
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