Everyone starts out a new year with the best intentions. We’re going to lose weight, or eat better, or work out more. I don’t know about you, but I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to shelling out a bunch of money for a workout class and then quitting by Valentine’s Day.
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One of the biggest areas where people miss an opportunity to be intentional is in their personal finances. Seventy-eight percent of Americans aren’t getting ahead because they live paycheck to paycheck. Money problems remain a top reason that married couples fight. And one in five of you reading this aren’t putting any money into savings.
Instead, Americans are maxing out credit cards, making hefty car payments, and are up to their eyeballs in debt. It’s the same story year after year. So why not make 2019 the year you start winning with money? Here are five ways to give yourself a raise this year:
Cut back on your monthly subscriptions.
Take a look at your online subscriptions. Is there anything you need to cancel? Maybe an online fitness class you only use once every three months? That cash could be an extra something in your pocket! Or can you go down a level to save money? For example, Hulu has three price points—in the cheaper version, you’ll just see a few more ads.
Make the “unsubscribe” button your new BFF.
Set aside 30 minutes to sift through your email inbox. Open up all those promotional emails tempting you with sales and special offers, scroll to the bottom and click “unsubscribe.” Once you stop getting the emails, you won’t be tempted to spend so much money on things you weren’t even looking for to begin with.
Create monthly financial resolutions.
This may sound overwhelming, but quick wins are important. Write down 12 financial goals you’d like to achieve by the end of 2019, and assign one to each month. Maybe you want to pay off a credit card by May, or save $500 by September. You’ll be more likely to reach your goals if you keep them simple, make them tangible, and believe you can do it.
Transition your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.
The traditional IRA works on the “save money now, pay later” system. In this system, you don’t pay taxes on the money you contribute now, but you will have to pay taxes when you take the money out. A better choice is the Roth IRA. With this retirement savings account, you pay taxes up front. That way, you’re not taxed when you withdraw in retirement. Translation: a Roth IRA lets you grow your money tax-free, saving you thousands in the long run.
Create sinking funds.
Life happens. Come up with a list of things you might need extra cash for—things like holidays, birthdays, weddings, new tires, home repairs and more. Save for those things using sinking funds.
For example, let’s say you want to save $400 to travel to your friend’s June wedding. Divide $400 by the number of months you have left to save: $400 divided by six months is $67. You’ll need to save $67 per month in order to dance the night away at that wedding. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, free budgeting app, I recommend EveryDollar. This app will help you make a plan for your money. And they have a fund feature built right into the app!
If you’re serious about making a fresh start with your money, these tips will get you set up financially for 2019. This time next year, you could be in an entirely different situation. So, make 2019 the year you start winning with money!
As a #1 New York Times best-selling author and seasoned communicator, Rachel Cruze helps Americans learn the proper ways to handle money and stay out of debt. She’s authored three best-selling books, including Love Your Life, Not Theirs and Smart Money Smart Kids, which she co-wrote with her father, Dave Ramsey. You can follow Cruze on Twitter and Instagram at @RachelCruze and online at rachelcruze.com, youtube.com/rachelcruze or facebook.com/rachelramseycruze.