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Great Financial Ideas for the New Year

Updated on January 5, 2012

Maybe, it always seems like you need more money for this item, this expense or to pay this or that bill. No matter how much money you earn, you always come up short and you are living paycheck to paycheck. Well, the New Year is here and one of your New Year’s resolutions is that you want to manage your income a little better this year so that you will have more money now and more money later while still having a great quality of life. Here are some great money ideas to help you succeed in your financial and personal goals.

1) Start a Savings Plan

Even if you can’t put away a lot of money right now, $10 or $20 dollars a pay cycle over time can add up. A local savings and loan, bank, or credit union have many starter accounts for this purpose. Many internet banks can also offer high yield accounts at interest rates that you can't get at traditional savings institutions. Discover Bank offers a 1.00% rate on accounts containing $500.00 or more. First Internet of Indiana offers 1.00% on accounts of $100 or more. Finally, Ally Bank and ING are internet banks which don't require a minimum balance to open an account but offer great rates to savers.

Another saving item you don’t want to neglect is investing for retirement. Many businesses offer matching contributions to their company retirement plans. Whether it is a 401k or an IRA, or a 403B for nonprofits, this is free money that you don’t want to miss out on. Even if your company doesn’t offer a retirement plan, you can save on your own with IRAs offered at many financial institutions. They can offer diversified options of fixed as well as variable investments.

2) Reducing Debt and Managing Credit Cards Better.

If you have a lot of credit card debt, or bills that have accrued, chances are it took time to accumulate these debts. You may have had to spend money on unexpected medical expenses, clothes for work, transportation costs, or other items, and it will likely take time to reduce or eliminate those debts as well. Remember, everything starts with one step at a time before a goal can be achieved. If you have a lot of bills, try to eliminate one or two at a time. Concentrate on paying off these items, and pay the minimum on the others. You might want to start with the ones that are the easiest to pay to remove or the ones with the highest interest rates. Consolidation loans are also an option. Instead of paying on many bills at one time, one manageable payment each month might be a better option for you. Once you do have the debt under control, you might want to get a credit card for emergency expenses that has a low interest rate. Zion Bank and Nevada State Bank currently are both at 7.00% APR. Simmons First National Bank of Arkansas is currently at 7.25%. However, you might want to check your local credit unions which tend to have good rates too.

3) Expenses

This is the key. In order to create a savings plan or manage debt in a more efficient manner, you need to be in control of your money. Ask yourself, "Is there a better to utilize my money to achieve financial goals without sacrificing my quality of life."

A) Meals: Food likely takes a large part of your income, whether it is eating out at lunchtime or socializing with friends on the weekend. This is an area that definitely can be managed better. Instead of eating out at pricey restaurants, you can save lots of money by making lunch at home and taking it to work.

Picture this: the weekend is here and you are with that special someone or friends. Rather than going out to eat, why not do something fun and entertaining- create a meal together or have a potluck where each couple brings a course of the meal. One couple may bring an appetizer, another couple may bring the dessert, still another the main course. It might be interesting to discover what each person will contribute to the meal.

B) Postage: How much money are you spending mailing holiday and birthday cards, bills, and ordering merchandise? Can you pay bills online instead, order merchandise on internet, or send out e-cards? You will be amazed how much you can save.

C) Subscriptions: Do you have newspapers or magazines that your are not reading? Maybe DVDs memberships you don't use. Stop paying for these items? This is extra money that can be used for savings, a needed expense, or an item you really want.

D) Memberships: Are you paying for memberships that your are not using that often? It maybe an amusement park, museum center, zoo, country club, or fitness center that is taking a good portion of your money if you are not using them don't pay for them.

E) Inexpensive entertainment: Many online shopper websites offer discounts on many activities you enjoy going to. Some of these popular sites are Groupon and Living Social. These offer activities such as a sporting events, theatre tickets, and other items.

F) Free activities: Hiking, swimming, festivals and sometimes musical venues at local parks might cost little or no money.They are always a great idea for fun.

G) Trading items Books, CD, and DVDs. One website Paperback Swap.com, lets members swap used books. There is also a CD and DVD service. There are used book and CD stores nationwide that offer similar options. Some libraries do this also. This is a great way to save money and have fun too.

These are just a few money management ideas for the new year. If you plan and have goals, these tips they can build wealth, knowledge, and result in a great quality of life. Enjoy this new road to financial success and have a great year.

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