Every single business these days seems to be offering a loyalty program. Any time you approach a cash register, it’s likely you’ll be pitched on the store card. Some of these programs are good, and some of them are just a waste of time and a source of junk mail. Here are just a few of my favorite programs for stores, gas stations, and restaurants that are actually going to save you money – and earn you free stuff!
While many of us make financial resolutions throughout the year, it seems many people find it easier to make a resolution list at the beginning of the year because the New Year is symbolic of a fresh start.
Accordingly, with the New Year less than two weeks away, I have created a list of great financial tips to help start your New Year off with a fiscal bang!
Reduce your reliance on credit cards
While credit cards can provide a safety net for people who need to make purchases or pay bills in between checks, they can also become your liaison to procrastination and financial debt. The more you use your credit card and put off paying your bill, the longer your minimum payment will go toward interest only.
Reducing you reliance on credit cards in the New Year can assist you as you attempt to pay off your credit card debt and eventually free you of your credit card dependence altogether.
Document all of your purchases
It’s hard to pinpoint your bad spending habits if you do not record all of your purchases.
Starting in January, create a detailed list of each purchase you make. After one month, take another look at the list and divide the purchases into two separate columns, one for need-based purchases and one for wants. This list will not only illustrate your frivolous spending habits, it will also provide you with a personal financial catalog of your allowable income tax credits and deductions so you won’t have to scramble for receipts during tax season like a lost winning lotto ticket.
This list will provide the infrastructure to gather the necessary information to take better control of your finances in the New Year. Knowing, viewing, and modifying your spending habits will help you budget your money better.
Don’t just make a budget, stick to it
Now that all of your purchases have been documented, it’s time to set a budget. Budgets are used for setting and obtaining spending and saving goals. No matter how much money you make, budgeting is an important financial attribute that will keep you from reverting to your frivolous spending habits.
Through financial planning, your financial goals may be closer than you assume. When the extra zeros and commas present themselves in your checking and savings accounts, the next step to a promising financial year is to invest.
Make an investment
There are many ways to invest your money. You can make a simple retirement investment into a Traditional or Roth IRA via payroll deduction. Or you can become a part of your company’s Profit Sharing Plans, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP), or 401(K) option. Investing your money is not a guaranteed profit, but it sure beats throwing pennies into Trevi Fountain (in Rome) with an accompanying financial wish.
Refinance to take advantage of record low interest rates!
If your mortgage rate is above 3.87 percent (4.04 percent APR), refinance to take advantage of today’s record low interest rates! Our home loan experts will assist you in picking the best mortgage option to help you achieve your goals.
As a reward to our financially savvy clients, Quicken Loans has introduced the Rate Stomper program that locks you into a 15-year mortgage with an incredible 2.99 percent (3.49 percent APR).
This offer is the result of the world’s financial markets pushing interest rates lower than they have been in 60 years. Compare your current mortgage rate with the Rate Stomper figures using our amortization calculator to discover how much money you can save during the life of your mortgage. My team leader recently refinanced into 15-year fixed-rate VA loan and has not stopped smiling since he received a pleasant surprise in the mail.
Start your New Year off with a fiscal bang and get your finances in order today. You may find yourself eliminating the need for a financial advisor, while beginning to give out financial advice yourself.
Jonathan Slappey is a writer for Quicken Loans, a company whose clients believe it’s Engineered to Amaze. Interested in being Amazed by us? Read trusted reviews at our review site.