Personal Finance In A New Year

A new year brings with it a new desire to set goals. If a renovation of your personal finances happens to be on your list of goals, consider the following strategies to maximize your purchasing power, make ends meet or invest in your future.

Earn More

While the concept of earning more money may sound infantile or outside your realm of control, there are some things you can do to add to supplement your income. Some basic ideas include:

  1. a part time job
  2. become a mystery shopper
  3. do some freelance work
  4. maximize contributions to your 401k if the company you work for offers a matching option
  5. personal finance

Spend Less

By making simple cutbacks, you can spend less without sacrificing your standard of living. Spending less on frivolous expenses leaves more money for you to use toward your financial goals. Here are some tricks to help you save:

  1. adjust your thermostat a couple of degrees
  2. don’t carry a balance on your credit card to save interest charges
  3. make meals to eat at home instead of eating out
  4. purchase clothes at a thrift store or consignment shop
  5. use coupons or watch for sales

Sell Stuff

You may not be willing to sell plasma or downsize your home, but more than likely there are still items around you house that could be sold for some extra cash.

  1. old gold and silver
  2. used household items and electronics can be sold in a garage sale or on Craigslist
  3. rent a room in your home to somebody or get a roommate
  4. sell handmade items at craft fairs or on a website like Etsy
  5. Cash back bonuses

Credit cards can be detrimental to personal finance if they are not used wisely. Carrying a balance on a credit card is like throwing money away on interest. You actually end up spending more to purchase items when you pay interest on credit cards.

However, if you are disciplined enough and monitor your spending well, you can use the credit card offers to your advantage. When cards offer a cashback bonus award, you can actually make a little extra money by using your credit card to pay for items you buy anyway. Gas purchases, groceries and even utilities have to be paid each month, so why not pay with your credit card and earn the cash back instead of paying the interest? The key is to always pay what is owed on the card in full each month and to only use a card that does not charge fees for usage.

Reduce Debt

Similarly to paying interest on credit cards, it is silly to pay interest on other loan items if you don’t have to. If you are able to pay a little extra on your car payment, student loan or mortgage, do so. Over time, you can pay off the debt and save interest money in the process. Paying down debt also keeps the debt collection agency at bay and prevents bad debt collection experiences.