Regardless of what kind of resolutions you have in mind for 2019, it’s always helpful to include a financial plan that isn’t particularly difficult to maintain throughout the year. After all, resolutions revolving around greater savings, better financial preparation, or smarter money management in general are always welcome changes — and what better time to begin than today? So if you have yet to start a new financial habit, take a look at some of these great money ideas:
Start an Emergency Fund
Emergencies may come in different, unwanted forms: job loss, home repairs, sickness, and more. These often entail huge expenses, hence their potential to devastate those who aren’t financially ready. An emergency fund will help you prepare for such situations.
To get the ball rolling, it’s important to decide how much money you should set aside for emergencies. The common advice is to prepare three to six months’ worth of living expenses, but financial expert David Bach says more is always better. If possible, aim for eight months to as much as one year’s worth.
Once set on a figure, go ahead and open a separate savings account. This could provide the liquidity you need while still allowing you to earn interest. Consider setting up automatic deposits as well in order to make the saving habit much easier.
Improve Your Financial IQ
Purepoint Financial found in a survey that 65% of its respondents were clueless about the benefits of keeping funds in a high-interest savings account. The lesson here is that you’ll have better knowledge on how to earn from savings if you take the time to study different types of bank accounts available to you.
On a related note, you’ll also be equipped to make good financial decisions if you pay attention to interest rates. For instance, credit card rates are rising steadily — a trend that is set to continue in 2019. Therefore, people with outstanding credit debts should start searching for better repayment strategies. MarketWatch recommends exploring balance transfer card offers, which allow you to transfer your balance to a card with a lower interest rate. Using these types of offers can definitely help improve your savings and lower your interest expenses.
File Your Taxes Early
We know — there is still plenty of time to file your tax returns. However, filing them early has its advantages. One particular benefit pointed out by Maurie Backman of The Motley Fool involves receiving your cash refund earlier. Getting it earlier can help you pay off a near-term expense or credit card debt.
Additionally, it will allow you to be immune to tax refund fraud. Data breaches are now a massive problem globally, so it’s not uncommon to hear of crooks using stolen identities to get big refunds. By filing early, you not only beat the scammers to it, but you also get to help the IRS catch them red-handed.
Reduce Restaurant Expenses
Here’s a money resolution that can work in tandem with any fitness goal. Food is one of the biggest expenses in a monthly budget, but it can be reduced if you avoid regular restaurant visits. Eating out or ordering food to go may be a convenient decision, but you can actually get more savings in the long run by cooking your own meals.
Based on a guide written by folks from The Balance, the first step is to do meal prep as it helps you to cut down on grocery visits and increases the time spent on preparing food. Meal preparation is the key to make this resolution a success, so don’t be afraid to spend time researching recipes, guides, and ingredients.