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New Year’s Resolutions That Will Save You Money

Image result for new years resolution and money

Let’s be honest with ourselves, most everyone creates a New Year’s resolution each year, but very few of us actually stick to those commitments. Whether it is to work out or study more, it always seems like at about the three week mark those goals start slipping away. Setting realistic and achievable goals are the most important aspects of creating a resolution and could help you stick to it for a longer period of time. Money normally grabs everyone’s attention and with that being said, here are few money-saving New Year’s resolutions that are reasonable but will require continued progression throughout the year.

  1. Become debt-free

We are going to start with the big one first – freedom from your debt. Whether or not this is a realistic goal will depend on your situation and determining your financial situation. What type of debt you hold (credit, car loan, mortgage, etc.), what are the interest rates associated with each, and your income level will all determine how quickly you will become debt free.

It is often helpful to start targeting the debt with the highest interest rate first and so on. That will commonly be your credit card debt, which could have an APR of nearly 15% – 20%. It may also be helpful to pay the smaller debts off first to build some confidence going forward. Saving a few extra dollars each month could go a long way to freeing you from this debt.

  1. Discover ways to generate a side income

Finding extra income could be a great resolution that is very much achievable. Having excess spending money at the end of each month could free you up and relieve the financial burden from your shoulders. Even an extra hundred dollars a month could be a great way to reach other goals that you have and prepare yourself for the future.

Signing up to be an Uber or Lyft driver, finding a weekend job, or becoming a tutor are a few ways you could possibly earn some extra cash.

  1. Start an emergency fund

If you want to sleep better at night, building an emergency fund might be a great way to do that. You never know what tomorrow will bring so planning for those risks ahead of time could save you from in trouble in the future. One way you could start doing this is by saving an extra $75 dollars a month and putting it aside in case of emergency. If you continue contributing to the fund each month, you will have a safety net in place for those situations that you don’t plan for.

The next time your car tire blows out, you won’t have to stress about where you will find the money to replace it. Please remember that if you have outstanding debt, you might want to deal with that before building up your emergency fund.

  1. Build a budget

Starting off the New Year with a budget can be a very easy resolution that you can complete as you watch television. No two budgets will look the same, so it is important to establish one that works for you and one that you can stick to. The hardest part about a budget is having the discipline to actually work hard to make a difference in your situation.

One way you could go about creating a budget is first estimating both your monthly income and expenses, while determining whether each expense is a need vs. want. From then, you could go into tracking your actual spending. Keep your receipts or having a journal for recording your expenditures at the end of each day are a few ways you could go about doing this. It is important to see the differences between what you think you’re spending and then what you’re actual spending. To complete your budget, you can then make the proper adjustments towards each expense and become ready to live on a budget and save money.

As the New Year approaches, tell yourself that you are going to set a resolution that sticks and one that will truly have an impact on your life. These are just a few realistic and achievable resolutions that could help you get on the right track with your finances.

Nolan Keim
Peer Counselor I
Powercat Financial Counseling
www.k-state.edu/pfc

Taking Control of Your Financial Future

What do we all have in common regardless of our age or major?  At some point, we will need to manage our own finances (or we already are).  This can be scary for some, and confusing for others.  Knowing where and how to start is critical.  Regardless of where you are in life, these are simple steps to help you take control of your financial future.

Begin with a budget

If you already have a budget – great!  Make sure you are reviewing it regularly and adjusting for life’s changes.  If you don’t have one, now is the time to start.  Even if you do not have a regular income you can budget the allowance you get from your parents, or student loan and scholarship money you receive each semester.  This is especially important if you are receiving lump sum payments, and you need these funds to last the entire semester.  You can use the spending plan worksheet at k-state.edu/pfc/budgeting/ to help you get started, or make an appointment with Powercat Financial.  Other budgeting tools can include using an online App such as mint.com.

Check your credit report

Checking your credit report is important.  A credit report is a summary of your financial reliability – your history of paying debts and other bills.  The three credit bureaus are Transunion, Equifax and Experian.  You can obtain a free credit report once a year from each of the three bureaus at annualcreditreport.com.  We recommend requesting one every four months (for example – Transunion in January, Equifax in May, Experian in September) to identify fraudulent activity or errors, and track your credit history.  Also note, the report does not include your credit score (the numerical value calculated from information in your credit file that is used by lenders and landlords to assess your “credit risk” at that time), but you can get your free credit score at creditkarma.com.

Set up an emergency fund

Pay yourself first!  This sounds simple, but the easiest way to contribute to a savings account regularly is to set up an automatic transfer from your checking to your savings account.  Having an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months of expenses can keep you from using credit (and paying the interest) or stressing about money in an emergency.  Just make sure to only use it in an emergency and to replenish your savings afterwards.

Get out of debt

Whether you have credit cards, a car payment, or student loans, it pays to get out of debt.  Paying only the minimum on your credit payments ensures you will pay the maximum amount of interest.  Even paying a little extra on your payments can help you save a lot of money in interest – and this just means more money in your pocket in the long run!

Take a class

April is financial literacy month.  We encourage you to explore your finances through expanding your education.  SALT is a free resource available to current K-State students and alum.  You can find SALT courses that explore a variety of financial topics, and they do not require a huge time commitment – usually, they can be completed in about 30 minutes.  Additionally, SALT has articles, infographics, and other resources to help you become financially savvy, so sign up today at saltmoney.org.  For every SALT course you complete during the month of April, you are entered to win a $250 scholarship from Powercat Financial Counseling.  If you want to explore your personal finances in more depth, K-State also offers an introduction to personal financial planning class.  Finally, if you ever have questions, or need some help with your financial situation, we would love to meet with you individually.  Just make an appointment at k-state.edu/pfc/.  Good luck and remember, now is the time to take control of your financial future!

Shari Humbard

Peer Financial Counselor I

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