My usual New Year’s resolution sounds something like, “I will never again eat chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, I will eat veggies with every meal, and my workouts will consist of more than just running to the potty every 30 minutes with my two-year-old.” Even as I type these words, I don’t believe myself. Oh sure, January 1 will consist of me eating some healthy veggie egg scramble for breakfast and hopping on the treadmill for the first of my planned 250 workouts for the year, but by January 5, I’ll be eating some sort of processed breakfast in the car, and my treadmill will become the coat rack it was always meant to be.
So, instead of setting myself up for failure, I’ve decided to make a financial New Year’s resolution. Here are a few ideas should you care to join me. I’ve listed them in order of easiest to the most challenging.
- Check your credit. Websites such as Equifax offer free personal credit reports. Make it a habit of pulling your free report once per year and verify all the information on it. You might be surprised at what you find. If anything is incorrect, be sure to get it removed. And if there are a few negative items on your report, go ahead and dispute them. Often, if a collection agency doesn’t verify the item in dispute, the credit bureau will remove casino online it.
- Reevaluate your insurance. Pull all of your policies – renters, homeowners, car, life, valuable property, and anything else you might have. Review your premiums and call around for better rates. Just because you got a great rate a few years ago doesn’t mean it’s the best rate today.
- Consider refinancing dicters.net your home. With today’s interest rates as low as they are, you could save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. Shop around for loans with low closing costs and no points.
- Max out your 401(k) or 403(b). The 2013 contribution limit is $17,500. For someone who gets paid every 2 weeks, that’s $673 per paycheck before taxes. That can be rather painful, but challenge yourself to save as much as you can. You can change your contribution amounts at any time. If you’re unable to max out your contribution, increase the amount you’re currently contributing. Many plans will let you set up an automatic increase in contributions, so you don’t even have to think about it. And if your company offers matching contributions, make sure you are taking advantage of that free money and contributing at least the amount your employer will match.
All this talk about finances is making me crave chocolate chip cookies. I’m going to eat some now and smugly reflect on how I’m still keeping my New Year’s resolution.
Do you have any financial resolutions you would care to share? I’d love to hear them!