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Fail Financially in ’14? A Fix For 2015

Posted by Admin On January - 5 - 2015

Ten Resolutions for Better Financial Health

CHICAGO, IL -  Among the top New Year’s Resolutions, for many consumers, are to lose weight and to get their finances in shape. However, when it comes to fixing their finances, most will admit it’s easier said than done. To help consumers get on the road to a better financial future, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) suggests that first you start making a plan to suit your needs.

“Many financial experts list paying off debt, saving money and spending less as priorities for improving personal finances,” says Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “To reach your financial goals in 2015, frugality seems to be the watchword.”

A Google internet search will produce dozens of resolutions and suggestions aimed at improving finances. The trick for individuals is finding those that will work for them in their situations,” adds Bernas.

Here are ten tips from the BBB that may help get your finances in shape:

  • Put together a budget and stick to it – Create a budget that is easy to figure out and follow. Consumers often fail when they become overwhelmed and frustrated by the constraints their budget puts on them.
  • Live within your means – That’s the point of establishing a budget resist the urge to budget for something if you can’t immediately pay for it.
  • Stop impulse buying – Think before you buy, step back take a breath and remember what your ultimate goal is.
  • Take stock of where your money is going – Get reacquainted with your finances. Collect your credit card and bank statements from the past year and take note of where you went overboard. Also, check the status of all your financial accounts, and clearly understand your assets, debts, and monthly cash flow.
  • Use credit cards wisely – Bring your balances down to zero every month. Have one card you use for everyday purchases paying that balance monthly and another for revolving debt. Another alternative is to use cash only.
  • Get out of debt – Pay off the highest interest balances first, while making minimum payments on other debts.
  • Build an emergency fund – Be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Some experts suggest a fund of at least $1,000; others recommend three to six months’ worth of expenses.
  • Automate as much as possible – Recurring monthly payments can help avoid missing payments that may have a negative impact on your credit score.
  • Save– If you are not currently saving, start with $10 per week into an employer-sponsored or individual retirement account. If you are saving plan to increase all savings by 15 percent.
  • Give to charity – Donating an hour’s worth of pay can have a bigger impact on a community or for an organization than volunteering an hour or time. Donating may also have a positive impact on how much you pay in taxes.

Bernas noted “Whatever method you chose for getting and keeping your finances in check, make sure it’s a concrete plan; and should you have a minor bump in the road see it as just that ‘a minor bump’. Don’t let that derail your overall plan.”

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