This time of year we begin to think about all of the things that we would have liked to have changed over the past year, or ways to improve our life next year. It is a good exercise to look at the opportunities you have to “clean-up”, organize or improve your financial plans. Here are 10 things that might get you started.

#1 Cut Subscriptions:

Look at all of the monthly expenses that you have. How many of those subscriptions are necessary and how many are you wasting money on? Do you have gym membership you never use, cable TV that you don’t watch, software subscriptions that are dormant? Now is the time to cut those out and start fresh with January billing that is thinned out.

#2 Draft a Financial Plan

If you need some motivation to start adopting better habits or to have goals to work towards then creating a financial plan and calendar will help you to stay on track. If you craft a board or a flow chart with dates and reminders it will help you stay organized and be a reminder of the things that you need to do and put in place to achieve your goals!

#3 Check your Bank Statements Regularly

There are lots of fees, improper charges and mistakes that are made and never caught or recovered every day with banks and credit cards. Get in the habit of checking these things on a regular basis and match with receipts. You will be surprised how much money that might save you.

#4 Work to Diminish Bad Debt

If you are paying high interest loans for school loans, credit cards or car loans you are wasting money and throwing away what you could be saving. Transferring balances to 0% interest cards can be an option. Make an effort to consolidate or get a better rate and take the money that you were wasting and allocate it towards savings. You won’t miss it and it will add up quick.

#5 Invest in Yourself

By making an effort to learn as much as you can and work toward educating yourself or furthering your education you are preparing for a better future. We often are so busy providing for our lifestyle, our families and thinking about “today” that we neglect how important continuing education and perpetual learning is. Even simple things like listening to podcasts on the way to work, reading trade or industry articles and attending conferences will keep you informed and knowledgeable.

#6 Do a Password Overhaul

How many of us have been using the same password or set of them on our log-ins? It is a good idea and can help prevent online fraud if you go through and change your passwords. It is also a good idea to keep the passwords you use for more sensitive information different from the ones that you might use on a recreational or non-encrypted site.

#7 Get a Cheaper Phone Plan

Many of us are creatures of habit and just stick with the same thing because sometimes that is easier than changing. It is a good idea to investigate your options on phone plans and shop around. It was a hindrance when you had to change numbers but now most of our phone numbers are transferrable. Shop around and you might be surprised how much more you are paying than you need to be.

#8 Make it a Goal Never to Pay Full Price

There are so many deal trackers, websites and apps now that give discounts, coupons or ways to save on the things that we frequently purchase. There is really never a need to pay full price if you put in the effort of a little advanced planning. Also consider buying used or gently used. A new app, Offer UP tracks things for sale in your area and is a little more reliable and easier to use than Craigslist.

#9 Do a White Glove Inspection on your Credit Score

It is wise to keep close tabs on your credit report and make sure that you flush out any fraudulent activity or reporting immediately. Getting your report and going through it with a fine tooth comb to start the new year fresh is good financial hygiene to do yearly.

#10 Start Investing or Keep Investing Wisely

Even if you have small change to invest there are apps and small crowd funding opportunities that allow you to invest with very small amounts. If you have $10–30,000 sitting in the bank earning less than 1% interest you are wasting the opportunity to be making money with that money. Investigate your options as it is possible to even invest in real estate or real estate crowdfunding that earns you 10 times what the bank would pay you. Do your homework and find the right opportunity to help grow your savings instead of breaking even or possibly even losing money.

As we begin a new year and the planning for a better future, take to heart some of these tips that will help you to achieve the financial goals you are striving for!

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