New Year’s Resolutions… <br />Every New Year's Eve, millions of people make a resolution to spend less yet, despite the best of intentions, many will not take the steps to really make a change in their lives. Sometimes just small actions are required to get people on the right track to financial security. <br />
Here are 11 Financial wellness steps for 2011<br />
#1. Pay yourself first! <br />Every month put a little money aside before paying any bills. Start small with as little as $5 or $10 out of every paycheck and stick with it.<br />It's not so hard to find the money; just give up one gourmet coffee, or late night trip to the fast food restaurant.<br />Remember, it’s not so much about how much you save, instead it’s about establishing the healthy habit!<br />
#2. Reward yourself!<br />Motivate yourself to save.<br />For example: estimate how much it will cost you for a night out on the town.<br />Then keep track of the money you save by taking your lunch to work until you've "earned" your evening out and can enjoy it without any guilt or sacrifice.<br />
#3. Cheer on your team!<br />Expenses are a family affair and it's time to get everyone on your team involved – including the kids!<br />Huddle and define your financial goals such as buying a TV, replacing an appliance, going on vacation or saving toward college tuition or retirement.<br />Create a game plan for achieving your goals and review it periodically through the year to make adjustments. <br />
#4. Get it together!<br />At a minimum, organize your bills, bank account statements and tax documents.<br />A carton, file system or expanding file can become your personal financial assistant. Being organized will: <br />save you time in locating important documents so you can address any discrepancies<br />end confusion over how much money you have <br />alert you to possible extra fees for late payments and account overdrafts <br />
#5. Order your credit report!<br />It's free and it's as easy as logging onto www.annualcreditreport.com, a service created by the three major nationwide consumer reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion).<br />You can get a free report once a year from each bureau to review.<br />Report any errors to the reporting bureaus with a highlighted copy of the report, a letter explaining the error and any supporting documents that prove your claim.<br />
#6. Information is power!<br />The first step to taking control of your financial situation is knowing exactly where you stand.<br />Open your bills when they arrive and check your monthly bank statements.<br />If problems arise, don't avoid them. Gather your information together and meet them head on.<br />
#7. Save a dollar a day!<br />A dollar may not buy much today but $356 will, and that's how much you'll have by Dec. 31, 2011 if you save just $1 a day.<br />You can save $5 to $30 per week at the grocery store by using coupons. That's nearly one month of $1-a-day savings in just one trip to the store!<br />
#8. Pay bills on time!<br />The largest factor in determining your credit score is whether you pay your bills on time.<br />Therefore, the best way to increase your credit score is to start paying your bills on time – each and every month. <br />
#9. Do the planet and your wallet a favor!<br />Be more energy efficient and help the environment while saving on fuel costs.<br />Invest in rechargeable batteries and energy efficient appliances and lighting.<br />Plan your week so that you can run several errands at once rather than taking the car out on several trips. <br />
#10. Be prepared!<br />No one wants to think about getting sick, losing a job, facing a fire or eviction, going through a natural disaster or lots of other terrible things that could happen. <br /> Make 2011 the year you plan for the worst with an emergency fund and evaluate your insurance coverage.<br />A rule of thumb for an emergency fund is to save enough for three months of living expenses. <br />
#11. Reduce your debt!<br />New federal regulations for credit cards require billing statements to disclose just how long it will take you to pay off your debt if you make only the minimum payment.<br />If you need help getting your debt under control consult a certified credit counselor such as American Debt Counseling.<br />If you are already in a debt management program, stick with it and 2011 will be a year that brings you closer to becoming debt free!<br />
For more information contact:<br />American Debt Counseling, Inc.<br />A 501(c )(3)non-profit <br />Credit Counseling Organization<br />14051 NW 4th Street<br />Sunrise, FL 33323<br />www.americandebtcounseling.org<br />1.888. DEBT USA<br />
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