You might be an adult with a grown-up job title, a car and a lovely little home of your own, but if you’re like the average American, chances are all of that stuff hasn’t taught you nearly enough about managing your money.
Despite the fact that most of us are able to manage our lives pretty well when it comes to money, it can be a different story entirely. For example, the average American household was more than $16,00o in debt in 2017 with outstanding U.S. consumer debt totaling a staggering $3.9 trillion!
If you’re one of the many who’s in debt, spending too much and not saving as much for the future as you possibly could, why not make 2018 the year you start to be smarter with your money? Here are some things that will help you with that:
Cut the Cost of Your Debts
If you have debts that are accruing interest right now, you need to pay them off fast because they are costing you a fortune. If you can’t do that, then at least minimize the amount of interest you need to pay.
You can do this by consolidating debts, transferring your balance to a zero percent card or even just by paying off as much more than the minimum as you can. Make paying off your debts a priority and your financial future will start looking up this year.
If you set up your account so that a predetermined amount immediately gets sent to your savings every month, then you will probably find that you don’t miss it nearly as much and it won’t be so difficult for you to do the right thing. Ideally, you should aim to send 20 percent of your salary to savings after first paying down debt.
Fix Your Credit Score
If you’ve had bad credit in the past, should you need to apply for credit this year, perhaps car finance or a mortgage, then it is unlikely you will get the best deals out there unless you use a fast credit repair service to fix your score first. Do this, and at the very least the cost of future debts will be lower, and you’ll actually have access to the ‘good’ kind of credit that y may need.
Log Your Incomings and Outgoings
If you want to use your money wisely, you first need to know how you use it foolishly. Use one of the many apps that you can link to your bank account and credit cards to log every penny. Then, analyze the data eliminate the excess.
Put Your Money into a 529 Plan
If you’re a parent, and you want to be smart with your money, one of the best things you can do is save your spare cash in a 529, which you might know as a qualified tuition plan, and which will allow you to save as much as $140,000 (as a married couple) tax-free for your children’s’ future college education.
If you’re serious about being smart with your money, these are some great ways to start!