15 Financial Tips for 2017
1. Have An Emergency Fund
Save enough to get you through three to six months of unemployment. That’s the average amount of time it takes to get a new job. If you find you’re being derailed by unforeseen events – like car repairs or vet bills – a chunk of cash will keep you from going into debt.
2. Realize You’re Emotional about Money
When it comes to money everyone gets a bit wobbly. For instance, many people work hard to pay off their mortgage when they would be better off, in a cold, financial sense, if they invested their money. Yet the feeling of being debt free can make you overlook the possible income.
3. Think Net Worth – not Account Balances
Personal finance blogger J. Money recommends taking the big picture of your finances by looking at your net worth with apps like Mint and Personal Capital.
4. Challenge Everything
Money also advocates tallying your monthly expenses and then going through each line item, one by one. Then ask yourself: Do you really need to spend $9.99 a month on Spotify? Are you using that gym membership? Can you save a few bucks on your wireless bill?
5. Negotiate Everything
Most of us are loath to haggle. But, Femme Frugality, the writer of her eponymous blog, says it’s a mistake. She advocates trying to negotiate all your monthly bills. The discount will be multiplied across months and years.
6. It’s not Savings Until it Goes into a Savings Account
Let’s say you challenge everything and you managed to shave $150 off your monthly bills. Are you really “saving” that money? J. Money says not really, unless you’re actually putting $150 more into your savings account. Open a separate account and then transfer the money each month. That way you can see it growing.
7. Cut Back On Stuff That You Want to Cut Back On
For example, going to Starbucks; if you absolutely love buying your morning cup of joe then keep doing it, but look for other places to cut. Figure out the stuff you bought that doesn’t make you happy and don’t buy it.
8. Sell Your Old Junk on Craigslist
You can earn more income each month by selling stuff you don’t use on Craigslist. J. Money reports he tries to sell three items a month. eBay is fine too, but with Craigslist there’s no postage.
9. Buy Stuff Second Hand
If Goodwill isn’t your thing, consider more upscale consignment stores like Once Upon A Child or Stephen Lawrence. Good deals can be found on all kinds of items.
10. Figure Out Your Limits
What can you cut back on? Eating out? Clothes? Almost every consumer expenditure is a distraction from what really matters. You don’t have to give everything up, but most everything is a choice rather than a mandatory cost.
11. Buy Everything with Credit Cards to Earn Points
Unleash your inner “rewards junkie” and earn points on everyday items like groceries and gas. Turn your points into gift cards at the holidays or travel rewards. Be sure to pay the balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
12. Or Don’t Buy Everything on Credit Cards
Dave Ramsey advocates using cash envelopes to keep your spending in check. If you find you just can’t control your spending with plastic this might be a good option for you.
13. Google ‘Coupon’ Along with Whatever You’re Planning to Buy
This is an especially good idea if you’re in the market for a big-ticket item, like a TV. There are tons of coupon sites with information about the latest deals.
14. Google Anything You Plan to Spend Money On
These days you can find anything online, even parts for your car. There’s a good chance that it’s cheaper than the price you’ve been quoted.
15. Set Realistic Goals
When you start out saving you typically create massive goals, notes Femme Frugality. Most of the things worth saving for require massive amounts of money. Instead, break big goals into smaller ones. Even if you don’t hit every milestone on time, keeping with it will get you wealthier quicker than quitting.