Whenever a holiday comes around it is the perfect time to re-evaluate your finances. To re-evaluate everything that has to do with your money. If you have never done this before and you have today off then it is the perfect time to do a financial check up. This check will help you get more control of your everyday financial life. Of course you can't get your entire financial life together in one day, but maybe you can get a big head start! Here are three action steps that you can take today during the holiday.
1. Money Leakage
Our lives get so busy that we don't notice the money slipping through our fingers. Sometimes the leakage is our own doing and sometimes it is caused by others. Take the day to look at your bank statements whether they are online or paper and look line by line. If you are looking at your statement online then try to go back three months to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. Maybe one month you had an overdraft fee and didn't know it. Maybe you thought you had discontinued a membership or a subscription, but it never cancelled and you have still been paying it monthly. Look for leakage from outsiders as well. These leakages are usually caused by scammers who have obtained your debit card information or bank information and used it to charge items to your account. If you see anything like that make sure to call your bank immediately and report it so that it can be handled.
2. Re-evaluate your agreements
You can also use your day off to look at the agreements in your life and adjust them. Or even better, develop a plan to make them financially beneficial to you. For example have you looked at your mortgage lately? Has your payment risen since last year? If you don't think that is possible I want to let you know it happened to me and my payment went up $35 per month. I had to take time to sit down with the bank and my insurance company to see what the problem was and then fix the problem. Look at your car insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, and health insurance to see where you can make adjustments for 2018. Adjustments that can better insure you and cost you less money!
3. Automate and Monitor
Think about looking into online banking at the bank you have your checking account through. Most banks and credit unions have budget software as part of their online banking and it can help you get your spending under control. You will put the numbers into the software that you want to spend in each area of your life and it will track it. For example if you want to only spend $200 for groceries per month put that number in the software and when you go over that number that part of the pie chart will turn red. If you stay within the number that part of the pie chart will stay green. Although you are automating this part of your financial life you will still need to monitor it so that if you overspend you can correct it!
You will not be able to do everything with your financial life in one day, but this is a strong start!
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