Tips For Staying Out of Debt In The New Year
Are you ready to make big financial changes in 2017? The new year is the perfect time to evaluate and improve your finances. It is time to start making changes and set financial goals — one being staying out of debt.
Your financial well-being should be one of your highest priorities, and the decisions you make today will determine how your finances will be in the new year. Here are some New Year’s resolutions for staying out of debt in 2017 and to have a prosperous year:
1 – Develop a Spending Plan:
If you do not have a spending plan, it’s time you set one up and take control of your finances. Planning your expenses will help you start the new year on the right foot and set you up for future financial success . To spend wisely, remember to weigh your needs versus wants, and prioritize certain purchases. Start making wiser spending decisions right now and continue with the habits all year long. In fact, H&R Block offers the Emerald Card, a pre-paid card that can help stick to a budget. Put your tax refund or Refund Anticipation check directly on an Emerald Card and use it everywhere Debit MasterCard® cards are accepted.
2 – Build an Emergency Fund:
Create an emergency fund so you’re always prepared for the unexpected. Ideally, you should save six to 12 months of living expenses, but if that’s a lot for you, set a goal of saving of a least $1,000. The best way to start saving is to set up an automatic savings plan that transfers directly from your checking account into your savings account. You can even start with as little $25.
3 – Minimize the Credit Card Use:
Take control of your credit card spending. To do this, think before you buy. Before making a purchase, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Make some calculations before using your credit card and wait until you have the cash instead. Studies show people spend almost 47% more when purchasing with credit cards instead of cash.
4 – Reconsider Student Loan Amounts:
Be smart. Avoid taking out student loans to the maximum or borrow as little as possible. Students who borrow to the maximum amount tend to struggle to make the payments later on. Starting your career with student loan debt can halt your ability to save, invest and purchase important things – like buying your first home.
5 – Don’t Borrow Money to Get Out of Debt:
Consolidating your debts into a minimum payment can be the perfect financial move, but be careful not to accrue more debt than you can handle. After consolidating your debts, avoid getting more and don’t create any unnecessary or new debt. Organize your expenses and try to pay debt as soon as possible.
6 – Never Co-Sign a Loan:
Never co-sign a loan for a friend or family member unless you are ready to take financial responsibility for the loan if the person you co-sign for is unable to pay you back. Even with the best intentions, it can ruin your finances and even relationships.
7 – Avoid Payday Loans:
Do not take out payday loans to cover a bad financial situation. A payday loan can be approved in minutes and you get the fast cash. While they are tempting to use to cover your immediate expenses, but the interest rates are usually high, even up to 35%, and you can fall into a trap of acquiring a new one each month to cover your debts temporarily.
8 – Avoid Including Debt from Your Old Car Loan to a New Car Loan:
Including a debt to a new loan is a serious mistake. Due to the rapid depreciation of cars, dealers receive your car for a lower price than the market value and include the negative balance into the loan of your new car. You will owe more on your car than it’s worth, so you have negative equity. So, try to sell your car separately or pay off the loan for your old car before you get a loan for your new car.
9 – Don’t Ignore Your Debts:
Ignoring your debts does not make them disappear. Doing this means higher interest rates and surcharges, court demands, accruing bad credit and even wage garnishment. Take your debts and get help now if you do not know what to do.
I hope these tips help you start the new year off on the right foot. Let’s make 2017 the year we avoid or eliminate our debt!
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While it will take some effort to get out of a financial crisis, these strategies from H&R Block can get you back on track.