January can be a great time to look ahead at your finances and set some goals for the coming year. We know that resolutions can be time consuming and difficult to keep. Not only are abandoned resolutions frustrating, they can also limit your progress.
This year we are all about helping you get ahead, which is why we’ve made a list of 15 Fast Financial Fixes for ‘15.
These 15 fixes are easy and stress-free ways to get your finances in order, without spending an entire day crunching numbers or reviewing old receipts. Many of our financial fixes can be completed in an hour or less.
Conquer your finances and make 2015 your best year ever by using some of our fast financial fixes:
1. Use direct deposit or automatic transfers to save your money before you see it
As opposed to manually setting aside money for savings, automatically put money in your savings account. If you don’t see the money in your daily checking account, you’re more likely to achieve your savings goals.
2. Set your bills to auto pay in Online Bill Pay to avoid late fees
Stop paying late fees on forgotten bills. Use Online Bill Pay
at your credit union or financial institution to automate your monthly payments.
3. Enroll in your financial institution’s reward points program
Get more for your money by enrolling in your financial institution’s reward points program. You can earn reward points on the purchases you make every day and redeem them for the things you really want, like gift cards or cash.
4. Create a home or family budget
A budget is kind of like a road map to financial success. Sit down and really consider your finances in 2015. Set a general budget that you can revisit throughout the year to keep your spending on track.
5. Switch to duplicate or carbon copy checks to track your expenses
Duplicate or carbon copy checks are an easy way to record your spending. Make the switch and eliminate any confusion about your check purchases.
6. Start collecting your 2014 financial statements to prepare for tax season
Tax season is right around the corner. This year, get a head start and gather your financial documents in one, convenient place to save yourself from a mad rush in April.
7. Make sure your financial institution has all of your correct contact information
The last time you moved, got a new cell phone or changed your email address, did you update your credit union or financial institution? Check with your financial institution and make sure your contact information is correct to avoid any account surprises.
8. Stop using out-of-network ATMs
Keep your money in your pocket, where it belongs. Make an effort in 2015 to only use in-network ATMs for your transactions. Check with your credit union or financial institution for a list of fee-free ATMs
9. Develop an emergency fund
Get prepared in 2015 by developing an emergency fund. Make sure to set aside a portion of your savings every month to account for the emergencies that pop up throughout the year.
10. Contribute enough to your 401(K) to maximize your employer match
Many employers understand the importance of planning for retirement and offer to match your 401(k) contributions. Check with your employer and make sure that you take advantage of any 401(k) match available.
11. Review your monthly income and spending
It’s hard to get a handle on your finances if you don’t know how much money you make and spend every month. Look at your financial statements and make sure you are consistently earning more than you are spending.
12. Choose a checking account with no service or maintenance fees
Say no to fees in 2015. If your checking account charges maintenance or service fees, switch to a credit union or financial institution with a free checking account. Cutting out those small fees can add up to big savings.
13. Check your credit report and look for any questionable or fraudulent activity
Everyone is entitled to a free credit report every year. Make sure you check your credit report at least once a year to make sure all the information is up-to-date and accurate. You can also check your credit report for any signs of fraudulent activity or identity theft.
14. Get an insurance quote to see if you could save more by switching
It never hurts to ask if you can save money on your insurance products. Every year, get a new quote to make sure your premiums are competitive. Groups like Member Insurance Advisors
can make switching insurance products even easier by doing all the research for you.
15. Find a financial advisor you can trust at your financial institution or credit union
A trustworthy financial advisor is an invaluable tool for financial success. Take some time in 2015 to meet the advisors at your credit union or financial institution and find one you really trust. With a financial advisor, difficult decisions, like estate planning or investing, are made easier.
Fixing your finances can be an easy and low-stress way to start the New Year. Choose 1 or choose all 15 of our fast, financial fixes and take control of your money in 2015.