Ways To Improve Your Finances In 2016

Watching the news the other day, I was distressed to see that most people have $1000 or less in savings.  These steps to improve your finances in 2016 should help.  Becoming aware of financial basics, and making sure that the entire family is on the same page financially is a great start, and will improve your confidence.

Starting fresh in the new year can be a great feeling, but only if you leave the bad habits behind, as well. Spend some time with your budget, and make sure you are still on track to having savings, debt payments, bills, and fun money out of your income. And looking forward, make sure all of your final arrangements are in place and current.

Improve Your Finances In 2016

[Read: Tips for Debt Repayment]

Looking at changes

One of the things to consider looking at is changing banks.  Many of the banks and credit unions have experienced a loss of customers, and are now offering incentives that can improve your finances in 2016.  They may be more willing to give you a lower fees, higher interest, or look over your investments. A financial expert can make sure that you have the right balance of investments and savings to reach your goals, but still have enough for emergencies.

Setting financial goals that are attainable is a real skill, and one that can improve your finances in 2016.  All you need to make sure that you can obtain the scales goals, and break them down into shorter term budget items. Planning on saving of $1000 in the next year means that you have to save $41.00 twice a month.  A lesson from the younger people:  use do it yourself projects  and gifts, as well as coupons, to save money.  Prioritize expenses that are important, but be sure to include some fun in your budget.

Using apps like designed to catch common errors, price comparison tools that may save you on everything from gas to a car,  one that keeps your loyalty cards digitally, or a simple budgeting tool to help you track daily expenses may improve your finances in 2016 by hundreds of dollars.  Also, be aware of how much you are spending on food that is thrown away, clothing that is not worn often, and luxuries on vacation you don’t use. Changing your habits here can save money you didn’t think possible.

Being aware

One of the things that could affect your finances without you even been aware of it: identity theft.  Making sure your phone, laptop, computer, and any other devices that may have sensitive information on them are not left in the open, or have saved information, is a good way to help avoid this. Someone who gets into the app for your favorite pizza stop could come away with one or more credit card numbers, if not your bank information.

Also, closing unused credit cards – carefully -and then keeping an eye on them may help avoid problems. Too many cards closed close together will hurt your credit score.

As parents get older, they may be less aware of changing interest rates, fraud attempts, or other money-management obstacles. Parents, and children, need to be alert that your online presence is available now-something that we may not be used to. Our spending , banking and browsing habits are tracked This can improve your finances in 2016, but may also hurt you. Be aware that nearly anything can end up public, or compromised.

If you get benefits and work, including time off, make sure you take them.  Many Americans give up paid days off, thinking that this will help the company. In reality, having some time off helps you be more productive, which will improve your finances in 2016 .  Also, many other bills, like cell phones, may offer you a discount for your job -make sure you’re taking advantage of it. Insurance, in case of disability, may be less expensive through your employer than anywhere else. And a matching incentive for retirement is something to consider, as well-you can nearly double the amount that you save, leaving you money to improve your finances in 2016 in other ways.

[Read: Finding A Financial Advisor You Can Trust]

Fun ways to save time and money

Peer pressure can be a good thing! While helping you  improve your finances in 2016, these can improve your friendship, and give you more satisfaction in life, as well.

  • Sharing your financial goals withe family, friends, and even social media will give you the sense of responsibility to meet them.
  • Cut down on your gym membership costs: you and your friends challenge friends and family for fitness goals.
  • Unsubscribing from email lists that you do not want, ads from products you may have bought one time, or ads that tempt you to spend outside your budget.  Many online tools will help you unsubscribed to these.
  • A quick visit with an accountant may save you time on taxes.  With the changing laws you may be eligible for a different household status, and consider filing electronically.