Spring is almost here! Soon flowers will start to bloom, temperatures will get warmer and you will start to feel like anything is possible. And what better way to begin the season than by sprucing up your finances? We know — you want to get your finances in shape but starting the process can be almost as painful as a new exercise regimen. So, FirstLantic promises to give you some easy tips that will help you and your budget get fit without requiring a lot of sit ups and leg lifts!
Tip Number 1 – Stop tempting yourself
Every time you get a catalogue in the mail or an ecommerce newsletter, it can be hard to resist, so remove the temptation. Unsubscribe from all of those emails you are getting about the newest and latest item that you have to have (which you don’t). Then register with the National Do Not Call Registry (www.donotcall.gov) and Catalog Choice (www.catalogchoice.org) to unsubscribe from all those catalogs that you don’t remember ordering. Limit your email box to things that are useful and might help you keep your money rather than spend it! Try signing up for newsletters like LearnVest (https://learnvest.com/) which offers smart financial tips.
Tip Number 2 – Reward yourself
This may sound contradictory but hear us out. First, you need to put some goals in place like saving an extra $10.00 per week by cutting out three lattes. Then when you achieve your goal at the end of the month, treat yourself to a small reward like a magazine or a new mascara. The key is to give yourself an incentive to get to your goal but nothing that will be a big expense.
Tip Number 3 – Keep a money jar
Saving your pennies can add up but saving five-dollar bills instead can add up a lot quicker. Clean out your wallet once or twice a week and store those old receipts somewhere else and then put whatever cash you can spare in a savings jar. Maybe it’s one dollar instead of five but you get the idea. Keep the jar in a place where you will see it every day and start watching it fill up!
Tip Number 4 – Automate bill payments and your savings
Most of you are probably already doing this but if not, this is key. When your bills are on auto-pay and your contributions to your savings are automatic as well, you are less likely to get yourself in debt. And you are more likely to start seeing that a little bit of saving can add up.
Tip Number 5 – Switch your bank or your credit card
If your bank is charging fees that don’t seem reasonable, look at a different bank. Two options to consider are Ally which offers 2.2% interest rates at any savings tier or Aspiration Bank which offers free ATM fees at all ATMs and gives a percentage of profits back to social causes as well. Shop around for different credit card options as well. Look for ones that give you better rewards programs, cash back or don’t charge an annual fee like Discover Card.
In summary, you can work towards getting in a better financial position by starting with baby steps first. You are more likely to stick with a plan when you begin small. Once you see the rewards, then you can take bigger steps like estate planning, getting a financial advisor or coming up with a plan to get rid of debt. For now, try a few of our simple tips and give yourself a pat on the back for starting your financial fitness routine. See? We promised that this plan would not require sit-ups!