Get Your Finances in Tip-Top Shape With These 4 Easy Steps
This past month, I’ve been on a roll with cleaning. I’ve purged my closet of unworn clothing, shoes and accessories, I finally sold my couch from college, and I’ve basically been a Craigslist sales broker for some of my technology-challenged family members. Here’s the problem: I still have so much to get rid of. I kind of feel the same way about my finances.
Writing this post gave me an opportunity to reflect on my financial accomplishments I’ve made since working for American Eagle. I set up my 401(K), bought a car, and paid off a big chunk of student loans. Despite these accomplishments, my day-to-day finance habits have been pretty lazy lately. A latte here, an “I don’t feel like making my lunch today” there, and my weekly budget is officially wrecked!
Join me in making this summer the season of financial freedom with a few simple steps:
Downsize your debt: Take a look at your debt situation. Whether it’s student loans, high-interest credit cards, or an auto loan from when you had less-than-desirable credit, make a plan to downsize your debt. Refinance your auto loan at a credit union. Open a balance transfer credit card to lower your interest rate. Become a snowballer or avalancher. Do this, and you’ll be amazed at how much cash you’ll accumulate.
Look at your account statement: It’s easy to swipe, swipe, and swipe again without thinking twice. Checking your account doesn’t have to get in the way of your daily routine. I always have my phone handy, and I have to guess you do too. I have American Eagle’s MobileAccess+ app and estatements, so I’m challenging myself to start checking my account daily. You’ll be able to analyze your spending and catch any excessive spending or fraudulent activity in an instant.
Lose the lazy: I’m constantly amazed at how closely my life goals align with my financial goals. If you’re meeting friends somewhere, carpool. If you live walking distance from work, walk. Take a hike and picnic for a date instead of dinner and a movie. Energizing your finances doesn’t have to be a hinderance; it just takes a change in attitude and likely a change in lifestyle.
Stop paying for unnecessary expenses: I love my gym, so I’ll gladly pay $10 a month for my membership. But if you have a membership somewhere and don’t use it, cancel it. This goes for a lot of things: Netflix, cable, high-speed internet, large cell phone data packages, professional memberships...I could go on forever! Also, stop paying bank fees. A checking account shouldn’t be treated like a brokerage account, especially when there are excellent free checking account options at local credit unions.
How do you “C.U.” getting your finances in tip-top shape this summer? Share with us below!