Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Brooke Niemeyer, Editorial Partnerships Manager at Policygenius.
Millions of people set New Year’s resolutions — and a recent survey shows saving more Money, getting more exercise and eating healthier are the most popular ones this year.
While these are great goals, setting a broad resolution can mean you get discouraged and lose motivation to keep it. Instead of letting your resolution fail, break it down into smaller, easier-to-accomplish tasks so it’s realistically attainable.
So, if your goal is to be more financially responsible this year, make it less daunting by setting the goal of doing one thing to improve your money situation each month. More manageable, right? To make this even easier, we put together some simple monthly money goals — some of which will only take you five minutes to do.
January: Make sure you’re covered
Whether it’s for your rental, home, car or yourself, insurance is a must. Open enrollment just wrapped up and we know how important health care is, but there’s another way you can protect yourself — life insurance. January is one of the most popular months to buy this coverage and, best of all, prices are at a 20-year low. Plus, the younger you are, the lower your rate will be. Easy peasy.
February: Review your budget
You probably know the places you have money coming in from, but how familiar are you with all your spending? Go over your budget with a fine-toothed comb and see if there are any adjustments you can make. Don’t have a budget? Make one using this easy template.
March: Save for a big-ticket item
Want to hit the beach or explore Europe this summer? Get a new couch in time for football season in the fall? Whatever big purchase(s) you have on the horizon, start putting money aside now so you’re ready when it comes time to buy.
April: Make an extra payment
Now that you know where your money is going, you know where your financial opportunities are. Do you have outstanding Credit card debt? Perhaps a car loan, mortgage or student loan? Whatever it is, put more than the minimum payment toward paying that debt off this month. You can use some of your entertainment funds or even that tax refund you have coming your way. Not only will this get you closer to having your debt paid off, but you’ll save money on those interest charges.
Don’t have any outstanding debts? Put a little extra in your savings or emergency fund this month.
May: Shop around
Whether it’s your cell phone plan, cable package or some other service, it’s a good idea to review what you’re paying on a regular basis (at least once a year). Choose one or two bills you want to review this month, read them over to make sure you aren’t paying for things you don’t need and compare prices and packages to other providers to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.
June: Check your credit
A lot of major financial milestones are impacted by this three-digit number, from getting a mortgage to even, landing a new job. That’s why it’s so important to know what your credit score is (and fix it if it needs some TLC).
July: Get automated
Set your finances on autopilot —Ditch the risk of late fees by setting up automatic payments. Set up a direct deposit to a separate account (preferably one that doesn’t give you easy access) to help boost your savings or emergency fund.
August: Sign up for alerts
Spot fraudulent charges right away thanks to text alerts from your bank or credit card company. It’s a great benefit that’s quick and easy to set up.
September: Plan for later
No one likes thinking about estate planning, but it’s an essential. This way, you’ll know your loved ones are taken care of if (ahem, when) something happens to you. There are free tools online to help you draft up a will or you can set up an appointment with an estate planner. While we’re talking about the future…
October: Get ready for retirement
Did you get a raise this year? If you did, it’s good practice to also increase your retirement fund. You can talk with your HR department about boosting the amount of money going into your 401(k) each paycheck. If your company matches up to a certain percent, make sure you’re hitting the max there so you aren’t leaving money on the table.
November: Spend your FSA
December is a busy time, so this is something you can get out of the way. After all, your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) funds are use ‘em or lose ‘em. If you have a lot of money left, consider changing your contribution amount for next year.
December: Reduce your tax bill
It’s crunch time — lighten your Tax Bill for next year by making some last-minute 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) contributions or donating to charity. You’ll be grateful in 2019l.
The post A Monthly Checklist to Make 2018 Your Best Year Yet appeared first on The Zumper Blog.
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