5 Easy Ways to Start 2018 Financially Savvy

Happy New Year, Henry County!  The new year is in front of us like a blank canvas waiting to be colored.  Is that a bit dramatic?   Possibly…  But if you think about it, 2018 is waiting for all things new, or enhancements on all the things already in place within our lives.  Here are some easy ways to start coloring that blank canvas in the financial corner of your life:

  • Savings, Money Market or Traditional Savings?
      1. Saving money is never a bad thing, on the contrary, even change saved is a good thing…always.  Two basic ways to save are to put money into a savings account or in a higher interest savings account like a Money Market.
      2. Savings accounts will give interest, not much, but a little is better than nothing.  Also, you’re allowed only 6 withdrawals per statement period, after that you will be charged per withdrawal.  That comes from Regulation D, put in place to help keep your money in and not out.  It’s in every financial institution’s disclosure, read up on it!
      3. Money Markets are a good way to earn a higher interest rate on your money.  Most of them have a minimum balance that you have to keep in to maintain the optimum interest.  Now with these accounts you can get checks, but seriously, this is a savings account.  No need to mess with checks.  They’re outdated for one thing, and who needs the temptation to spend?  Not us!
  • Put all that loose change in a jar.
      1. If you regularly use cash throughout the week, place the change in a jar every Friday.  You’ll see the jar become fuller.  Then roll all the coin (yes roll, don’t use the machine at Kroger, it charges you) and take it to your bank or credit union and deposit into savings.  Any bank or credit union will happily give you all the wrappers you need to roll coin.  You will see savings add up during the year; this really does work.
  • Remember the post-holiday sales!
      1. January will see plenty of after-Christmas-sales and that’s a great time to stock up on anything from wrapping paper to a new Christmas Tree.  Buy it, store it, and forget about it until the next holiday season.  When the holidays roll around again, it will be a treat to know you’re already ahead of the madness because you shopped early!
  • Track your monthly income & spending with a spreadsheet.
      1. My husband is a big fan of using spreadsheets in Excel.  I don’t have the patience for all that, however, it really is nice to see all your household income mapped out into distinct, budgeted categories.  The spreadsheet makes you accountable. In addition, we always have a goal to work towards that’s printed on the spreadsheet with our progress being tracked monthly.  If you’re willing to tackle the spreadsheet, it’s a nice way to see progress month by month.
  • Make a few realistic goals, and stick to them!
    1. Lastly, if you’re going to make a New Year’s resolution make it something realistic.  A few examples would be resolving to save at least $10 a week, eating out less, cooking at home more, or finding one subscription service you can cut from your monthly expenses. Commit to a simple and easy financial resolution, then stick to it, and it will be a success!

Hopefully some of these tips help.  Most of the time the simplest way to go, is the best way to start saving. Every new beginning starts somewhere.  Make 2018 a savings year; it could be the start of some good money habits!