Whew! Another year has come and gone. I always feel a bit sad when I say goodbye to another year, but I get pretty excited to see the new year.
A new year means a fresh start.
You may have made resolutions last year that you promised yourself you would keep but unfortunately you did not keep them. Maybe you committed to a simple saving and spending plan but the budget did not last pass January 3rd.
It's time to take charge of your finances.
Here are 4 simple ways that you can regain control of your finances this year.
1) Eliminate Unnecessary Bills
Cutting out those bills for consumer goods that you know you can live without is one of the easiest ways to save money this year. For example, your cable bill. I know what you're thinking.
What about the Sports Package?!
Calm down Fred. If you are a fan of your home team, chances are that your local station plays about 90% of the games. The special games that don't play on a local station are opportunities for you. Meet up with a friend that does pay for cable or head over to your local sports bar. The money that you saved by cutting out cable will more than offset the costs of a few nights out.
What about ____??! (Insert favorite TV show here)
Signing up for Amazon Prime is an easy way to save money. For about $79 you get unlimited access to over 40,000 Prime TV and movies. Most of the shows that you currently watch will be included as well as plenty of great movies. I've been a Prime member for more than 2 years now and I love the 2 day free shipping that comes with the membership. Also, I have never missed an episode of Downton Abbey.
Click here to sign up for Amazon Prime and get a 30 day complimentary trial.
Proper insulation is another way to eliminate unnecessary bills this year. Check your heat settings, water heater and central air unit. Then optimize each setting. Keep it cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer. A space heater that runs on low kilowatts is a great way to warm the room that you are in.
Close off rooms that you will not be using so there is no energy wasted.
Avoid Friends with Extravagant Tastes
A quick and easy way to save money involves re-evaluating your friend list. I don't mean the one on Facebook. You know that you have those friends that are always looking for ways to part with their money. Make it a point to plan free outings with those friends.
Dinners, movies and concerts are out of the question. You already know that they are going to choose the most expensive restaurant, opt for the super fancy 3D movie and choose the most pricey concert seats.
Just say no.
Instead, find some frugal friends that enjoy life without putting a price on fun.
Evaluate Your Credit Card Fees
Many Americans have credit card debt and carry a balance from month to month. If you are like the average American and carry a balance, you are getting hit with fees each month. Swapping the balance on your credit card to one with a 0% deal can offer significant interest rate savings over the course of the year.
You can also choose to contact your credit card company and negotiate any late fees or overage fees. Typically, if you ask nicely, they will refund. Use this sentence.
Hi, I notice that I was charged a late fee. I was wondering if I could have this waived as a courtesy?
No need to go into an elaborate story about how you were running to the mailbox to send your payment, but on the way, you got sidetracked because a deer-bra was crashing down the road with a baby.
Plan to Win
The final tip to take control of your finances this year involves a bit of planning. Don't give yourself a way out. Don't assume that you will not reach your financial goals.
Make a plan and stick to it.
You are the captain of your ship and the master of your future. Take the time to plan out how you are going to save money this year and do it.
Part of your plan should include weekly or monthly check-ins. Keep track of how you are doing and set milestones for yourself along the way. Reaching your goals can be fun and easy when you really want it bad enough.
How are you planning to win in 2017?