- It's important to have a solid handle on your finances.
- These moves could help you grow your savings, avoid debt, and even boost your credit score.
Here's how to get your financial house in order.
Even if your personal financial situation isn't all that complicated -- say, you're a salaried worker who rents a home and has mostly predictable monthly expenses -- managing money and bills can still be tricky as well as time consuming. But getting a handle on your finances is important, and it could be your ticket to a more stable and healthy outlook. Here are four steps you can take to simplify your finances this year while working toward your goals.
1. Get on a budget
Following a budget will help you understand where your money actually goes every month. It might also clue you in to changes worth making that help you boost your savings and avoid debt.
There are different options you can use to set up a budget. If you prefer the old school method of writing down your bills on paper and tracking your spending by hand, that totally works. Otherwise, you can create a spreadsheet or find a budgeting app that's easy to use.
2. Automate your bills
You probably have certain bills that cost you the same amount of money every month, like your rent, car payment, and cable plan. Setting those bills up to autopay could take one task off your plate. Just as importantly, by putting some of your bills on autopilot, you'll reduce your chances of being late with a payment. That could, in turn, help protect your credit score from damage.
3. Consolidate your debt
If you owe money on different credit cards, you might struggle to keep tabs on those various balances and remember to make your minimum payments. That's why consolidating your debt is a good idea. Not only might it help you stay organized, but if you consolidate strategically, you could end up spending less money on interest.
Imagine you're able to do a balance transfer, where you move your various credit card balances over to a single card with a 0% introductory APR. That alone could save you money as you chip away at what you owe.
You can also look at consolidating your debt with a personal loan. If your credit score is pretty good, you might snag an affordable rate on one of these loans that's much lower than what your credit cards are charging you.
4. Go paperless with bank and credit card statements
Those monthly statements from your bank and credit card companies? They're loaded with personal information you can't afford to have land in the wrong hands. That's why going paperless is a good idea. Not only will it help ensure your statements don't get lost, but you won't have to deal with filing or shredding those documents regularly. And if you're the type who just doesn't like clutter, paperless is the way to go.
The last thing you want is to have to spend hours each week dealing with bills and money matters -- not when you're busy working, taking care of a household, and maybe even trying to have a social life. These four moves could help simplify your finances and free up precious time for you to enjoy.
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