With 2021 right around the corner, you might want to start thinking of ways to say goodbye to old financial habits and hello to new ones. Of course, it’s never easy to break a bad habit, so US News My Money offers a few ways to start small. If you stick with them, you’ll be surprised to see yourself saving more, getting out of debt, and achieving your financial goals.
1. Negotiate Your Salary
Earning more money is the best way to make the most of your budget, pay off your debt, or build your savings. Although it can be challenging to find ways to bring more money home, you can’t ignore the potential of negotiating your salary. This will give your earning power a boost — and your finances.
Before you approach your employer, record a list of your professional achievements and key ways you’ve helped the company to support your case.
2. Use A Budgeting Tool
Finding the best budgeting tool for your needs makes it easier to follow a spending plan, letting you succeed in your goals and boost your finances. You can find hundreds of free tools online, or you can stick with tried-and-true methods like pen and paper. Either way, it comes down to whatever is easiest for you to stick with.
3. Get A Side Gig
A part-time job or side gig is one way to get more out of your budget. You can find various ways to supplement your income, whether finding a seasonal position, using your skills to make money, nannying, or dog sitting.
As you look for part-time work, make sure to avoid multilevel marketing companies. These organizations exploit their representatives, who often lose more money than they earn.
4. Create A Budget
A budget is the foundation of good financial health. It makes it easier to track your spending, get out of debt, and plan for the future. Having a budget doesn’t mean you have to live frugally or rack yourself with guilt when you buy an occasional coffee. Instead, the purpose is to give you an idea of how much money you have coming in and where it goes throughout the month. If you tend to live paycheck to paycheck, having a budget is especially important.
5. Open A 529 Savings Account
If you are preparing to send a child to college next year or a private grade school, consider getting a 529 savings account. These are a great way to save for eligible educational costs without paying a lot in taxes. It’s essential to learn the terms and conditions that come with a 529, so you can adjust your budget accordingly.
6. Make The Most Of Employer Benefits
Most employers provide benefits for education, retirement, insurance, student loans, and more. These perks can go a long way to help you save money and get out of debt. Failing to take advantage of these benefits is like leaving free money on the table, so don’t make that mistake!
7. Get A Job With Paid Sick Leave
Research has found that workers whose employers do not offer paid time off for sick leave are three times more likely to live below the poverty line. No one should never have to choose work over their health, so try bargaining with your boss for paid sick leave, finding another position that does, or creating an emergency savings fund to fall back on when you have to take off work. This benefit is particularly critical during the pandemic.
8. Set Up Autopay
According to Stacy Rapacon, former US News contributor, automatic payments are the best way to get out from debt, achieve your savings goals, and support concrete investing strategies. Of course, you should routinely check to make sure your finances are still in good shape.
On the other hand, you might choose a cancel autopay with services or companies that you don’t necessarily need. Look for a mobile app that monitors and manages your various subscriptions, so you ensure you don’t overspend in this category.
9. Find A Savings Strategy That Works For You
But most importantly, make sure it’s one you can stick with for the long term! Like a budget, creating a savings plan is essential for becoming financially independent and meeting your targets. You can get help with apps like Acorns, which round your purchases up to the next dollar and deposit the change in your mobile account. It’s a great way to supplement your savings and shows how a little bit can go a long way.
- Snider, Susannah. “50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2021.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 14 Dec. 2020, money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/saving-and-budgeting/slideshows/ways-to-improve-your-finances.