Chances are you made a few promises at the end of 2016 – maybe it was to lose a few pounds, clean out your house or something realistic like get your financial house in order. Roughly 42% of people who make New Year’s resolutions give up after week four. Don’t be a statistic. Getting your financial house in order and achieving financial freedom is a dream of many —and with hard work, diligence and a plan, you can do it.
#1. Find the Best Deals
Take inventory of all your home’s operating costs including cable and internet services, utilities like power and gas, telephone, yard and pool maintenance and others. Shop around to see if rates and packages have improved since you signed on with the service.
Cable and internet companies are always running specials and want to keep your business. If you live in a state where your energy is deregulated, you may be able to find a better rate. And, if you have not compared in-home services like housekeeping, pool cleaning and landscaping, you’re likely spending too much.
Set your alarm for six months from now to review all your services again. It’s a great habit to always be on top of your charges and shop the best available deals.
#2. Stay On-Top of Your Credit
We all know the importance of our credit; it impacts so many areas of our financial lives. Request a copy of your credit report and review it for any mistakes or errors. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, and can do so here.
If something isn’t right, here’s how to fix mistakes on your credit report. Once they are resolved, here are ways to improve your credit score too.
Monthly credit monitoring services can help you stay on-top of your credit score. It will help you gain a better understanding of how small changes in your financial life can have a big impact on your score.
#3. Save More, Automatically
Out of sight, out of mind—right? This year, resolve to save more. By setting up automatic payments to yourself, you can make the process of saving easier. Also, be sure to max out your 401(k), or at least contribute what you will get in your company match. There’s no reason to leave that money on the table.
If you’re saving for a new home, you might also consider some of these creative ways to save for a down payment.
#4. Be (Properly) Insured
Insurance companies (much like your cable and internet providers) often give introductory rates to gain your business, but as time passes your rates start to go up. Part of your yearly review of your finances should include reviewing your insurance policies to ensure 1) you have the coverage you need and 2) you’re not paying too much.
Many insurance companies give a discount if you hold several policies with them—home, auto, life, etc. You might consider consolidating to get a better deal. And, if you can afford a higher deductible, you could also save on your monthly premium. Just make sure you resolve to explore your coverage options and costs to make sure you have the package that works best for you.
#5. Reduce Your Debt
Your debt-to-income ratio, as well as your credit utilization, have a major impact on your credit worthiness. Paying down your debt is not only good practice, it gives you more room to leverage credit in ways that make sense for your financial situation.
Clark Howard offers these 5 simple steps to getting out of debt, while Becoming Minimalist suggests these 33 proven ways to reduce personal debt—some of which are quite creative.
#6. Review Your Mortgage
The terms of your mortgage may have worked for you at the time you purchased your home, but it’s likely a lot has changed. Do you have a sustainable mortgage to help you retain your home? Is your mortgage type right for your financial goals? Could you reduce your total debt and interest rate payments by consolidating loans?
With SindeoOne, you can explore over 1,000 loan options with a single application that can take less than five minutes to complete. Our experienced mortgage advisors will also help educate and advise you on all your options so you can make the best decision for your family.