January 21, 2016
Happy New Year! Now that 2016 is officially in full swing, it’s time to talk about the most important resolution you’ll ever make: to get your finances in the best shape possible in the coming year. Even if you fail to keep any of your other resolutions, it’s critical that you keep this one – because strong financial health is one thing that will continue to benefit you for years to come. Here’s how to get started:
1. Collect all of your expenses.
Gather all of your credit card statements and monthly bills to get an idea of where your money is currently going. Make a document with a column for “necessities” and “luxuries,” and write down what you’re currently spending on necessities like your rent, student loan payments, car payment, groceries, and utilities, as well as on luxuries like clothing, restaurants, and entertainment.
2. Evaluate your spending habits.
Once you have your spending habits on paper in black and white, it’s time to look at how they match up against your current income. For example, are you spending more than you make? Are you eating out every day? Do you spend a lot of money on cabs, entertainment, alcohol, and other luxuries? Or, are you overspending on necessities like your groceries and utilities? Be honest with yourself about how you’re managing your money, so you can clearly see where you need to cut back.
3. Look for ways to save.
Getting your spending under control is key to establishing a budget – but it’s important to be realistic. For example, if you currently eat out five times a week, don’t pledge to cook every meal at home, because it’ll be a tough resolution to keep. Instead, start small and commit to only dining out once or twice a week and cooking the majority of your meals at home. If you’re overspending on groceries, start clipping coupons and planning your meals ahead of time to prevent a fridge filled with rotting produce. These small changes can save you hundreds of dollars a month, which you can then put towards your credit card debt, emergency fund, or student loans.
4. Save on your student loans.
Cutting back on your spending isn’t the only way to grow your savings and get out of debt more quickly. You can also save a substantial amount of money by refinancing your student loans – potentially earning you a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment. To find out what you could save, plug in your remaining debt and current monthly payments into this easy calculator to determine how much a student loan refinance can save you in both the short- and long-term.
Please note that the information provided on this website is provided on a general basis and may not apply to your own specific individual needs, goals, financial position, experience, etc. LendKey does not guarantee that the information provided on any third-party website that LendKey offers a hyperlink to is up-to-date and accurate at the time you access it, and LendKey does not guarantee that information provided on such external websites (and this website) is best-suited for your particular circumstances. Therefore, you may want to consult with an expert (financial adviser, school financial aid office, etc.) before making financial decisions that may be discussed on this website.
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