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New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions 2022 is upon us. A new year means new beginnings, and an end to bad habits. That is, after all, what resolutions are all about! For many people, resolving to lose weight and eat healthier is the most popular goal, and year after year gym memberships are purchased, and exercise machines delivered. But, what about opting for a goal that (realistically) may be more in reach, and has the ability to influence you future, for years to come? Choosing to take more control over your finances is a worthwhile pursuit that will reap endless rewards.
Pledge to Not Open More Credit Cards
It doesn’t matter if you have two credit cards or five; there is no right or wrong number to have in your wallet. What matters is if you can reasonably manage them. Do you find yourself reaching for a credit card because you are short on funds? Now is the time to resolve to live within your means.
It can be difficult to limit yourself, and the additional question remains, what if there is an item online you’d like to purchase, but don’t want to use a credit card? Visa gift cards allow you to make a direct purchase online, without affecting your credit card usage. Accepted wherever Visa is accepted, you can even add a photo and text if you’re giving it to a child or friend as a gift.
Pledge to Pay off the Entirety of Your Credit Card(s)
Credit card debt is an issue for over half of Americans. Most people carry with them an average balance of just over $6,000. Consider consolidating your debt with a balance transfer, or paying off the debt entirely and biting the bullet to live solely on cash for a while.
Pledge to Save More Money
Even though it might feel like you’re already giving up little luxuries to pay the bills, you would be surprised at how easy it to save even $5 every week. Of course, the more you’re able to sock away, the better off you and your future nest egg will be in the future.
-Increase 401k contributions
-Open a high-yield savings account
-Find better rewards and lower interest rate credit cards
-Refinance your mortgage
-Cut back on one “frills” category you know you can do without (ex: fast food)
Pledge to Create a Budget & Stick with It
If you’re like most people, creating a budget can feel a bit like being financially ‘cramped.’ Having money at the ready to purchase at will is an idea that we’d all enjoy, but after a while, if income is not meeting with expenses, that idea dies hard.
Start by examining what you spend every month. Keep receipts, and review your credit card statement to see what categories are the most costly. It may give insight into an issue you never realized you had. Late night Amazon shopping, stopping at Starbucks for that gourmet coffee, perhaps even driving to the store more often than is necessary can all be brought to light.
Pledge to Improve Your Credit Score by the End of 2022
Raising your credit score can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. Take a good hard look at any negative marks that might be on your report, and take steps toward resolving them. Pay your bills on time and in full (consider opting for autopay), do your best not to open any new credit accounts, and use your existing credit cards less often. All of these strategies will help raise your credit score so the next time you need a bank loan, your score will work for you, instead of against.
Pledge to Check Your Credit Score Once a Month
There are many resources that allow their members to check credit scores for free, and with no negative outcome to your actual score. CreditJourney, Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, are all options to consider when moving in this direction. By monitoring your credit score more closely, you will spot issues sooner, and get them resolved more quickly.
Pledge to Check Your Credit Report More Often, Too
Credit card and identity fraud does exist, and even though you might be one person in a population of 330 million in the United States, it doesn’t mean you can’t fall prey to scammers and schemes. You’ll want to make sure the most up to date and correct information is being reported to the three main credit bureaus – TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. You can use CreditWise to get yourself a free monthly credit report or one of the many other online resources.
Vow to make New Year’s Resolutions 2022 the year you come out of debt darkness, and into the light! Executing these strategies will make more things possible for you in the months and years to come.