39 of the Best Financial Tips to Start the New Year
The new year is fast approaching and along with trying to wrap up taxes, many are setting goals for the new year. Typically people are focusing on their weigh, especially after two holidays of eating good food. I know I could lose a few pounds after this holiday break. More importantly, some are focusing their goals on their finances and I applaud those people. A new year is a great time to look over your finances and see where you can improve.
If you’re in debt, this could be the year you get out of it. You might not be able to pay it all off, but set a goal to pay off 10%, 20%, or more. Do what is reasonable for you and your situation, but create a goal to kill your debt in the new year.
If you’re on a savings kick (like me), then see what you can do in order to save more this upcoming year. I’ve always had a goal to get to 50% saving rate, but I’m not sure how I’m going to get there. No matter what, saving money is extremely important. It’s hard to survive if you’re not saving any money. Trust me, I used to be in over $75,000 of debt and I didn’t save a dime. Luckily I paid it off and saved over time. I’m now a saver who loves it. Join the club this year!
Ever since I started this blog, I gathered some of the best personal finance bloggers together at the end of the year to share some awesome personal finance tips with you. These people have been in debt, invest like champions, and grow their wealth like some of the best of them. I followed many of these bloggers when I was in debt and looking for tips to get out.
Today, I’m sharing 38 tips from other personal finance bloggers to help you get in the right mindset for the new year. These tips will revolve around a few topics I hold near and dear. We will focus on credit, debt, investing, making money, saving money, and wealth management. There are some tips which don’t fit in these categories, so I also created an “other” category as the tips are great and can help you.
My Financial Tip
Before we get to the other tips, I wanted to share my own, which is actually from my father. When I quit my job earlier this year to run my WordPress service and this blog, this is what he told me to get me to take the leap.
You can either be an entrepreneur or you can work for one
That little phrase was powerful and got right to the point. It helped me understand that I could do this. The people we work for all started their businesses, so why can’t I? Yes, it’s scary, but it can also be very worth it. If you’re on the fence in the upcoming year about going out on your own, I hope this little tip helps you get onto the side of the fence which benefits you. Do you want to own your business or do you just want to work for someone? Answer this question before you take the leap. Trust me, it helps!
One thing I’ve learned over the years is how important credit can be to your finances. While some thing having a good credit score and report is only applicable when buying something, that is no longer the case. Landlords can look at your credit, so can potential employers. You might not be able to get a cell phone contract and much more with poor credit. Yes, having a good credit score is very helpful in the long run. If you need to get a loan, having a good score will ensure you pay the cheapest rate over time. You can get low rates on car loans, home loans, and much more.
Related: Get your free credit score with Credit Sesame
Your credit score/report is very important and something you should follow. Beyond your credit profile, these tips will talk about credit cards. Yes, I used to have credit card debt, but I use my credit cards for every purchase. I pay them off each month and enjoy the rewards. I’ve traveled for free with credit cards. It works, but only if you’re responsible!
Lee Huffman of Bald Thoughts said:
Take advantage of all the benefits your credit cards have to offer. There are often great perks which make it easier to earn miles and points faster so you can travel better, more often.
Jim Wang of Wallet Hacks said:
Remember to check your credit reports every year. Ideally, stagger your checks at each of the three bureaus so you get a snapshot throughout the year. I call it the Waterfall Method and I check my Experian credit report in January, my Equifax sometime in May, and my TransUnion report around October.
As noted, I clawed my way out of $75,000 of debt. There was more than $50,000 of credit card debt alone, so when I talk about debt, it’s very personal. I know what it’s like to be in debt and how i affects you emotionally. Trust me, debt sucks the big one!
If you’re looking to fight debt, please check out some of the articles I have around the topic. These can help you understand more about your situation and how you react to debt. Don’t be like me and turn a blind eye to it. It only makes the problem worse. I only woke up after I realized my minimum monthly payments were as much as my mortgage. That was eye opening for me. It hurt, but it was the wake up call I needed to make a change. Hopefully one of these tips can be your wake up call.
Joseph of Peer Finance 101 said:
Don’t wait to be debt-free before you start investing for your future. Pay off your high-interest debt but start putting a little away for retirement as soon as possible. Your contributions to retirement accounts are tax-deductible so worth more than you may think, especially if you start early.
Jeffrey Trull of Student Loan Hero said:
Paying off your student loans early has many benefits, including saving money and being able to focus on other financial goals. But simply making extra payments isn’t the only strategy you can use to pay off student loans faster. Here are 14 different strategies, which I’ve rated on how effective each are. Pick and choose which work for you, and watch your student loan debt disappear!
Read more on Student Loan Hero
Brian Brandow of Debt Discipline said:
I think the biggest challenge people face when trying to get out of debt is the mental piece. You have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the change in your money behavior and habits to be successful. Once you get over that hurdle figuring out the math is easy, most of personal finance is common sense. Focus on a goal, a “why” for making the change and it will become easier to make the short term sacrifice for the long term goal of being debt free.
Read more on Debt Discipline
Jackie Beck of The Debt Myth said:
If you want to get out of debt, the #1 thing you can do is to stop borrowing. That sounds a little captain obvious, but it’s a critical step that so many people miss, and it was key to us paying off over $147,000 in debt.
Read more on The Debt Myth
Natalie Bacon of Financegirl said:
If you are in student loan debt, commit to getting out of debt as fast as possible. Create a plan — in writing — where you pay off your student loans. Saving and investing won’t solve your financial problems if you’re in debt. Make debt repayment your priority.
Read more on Financegirl
Candice Marie of Young Yet Wise said:
If your debt isn’t moving it could be because you’re only paying the minimum amount. When you only pay the minimum amount it’s hard to see any progress. You could also have too many money goals that you’re trying to accomplish at once. So you’re trying to put a few drops of water over 7 different buckets instead of pouring a whole gallon of water over 1-2 buckets at a time.
Read more on Young Yet Wise
Jason Butler of The Butler Journal said:
If you have a lot of debt please make a payment even if it is small. Every payment counts. In time they add up. Your debt will eventually get smaller.
For years, I only invested in my 401(k) through my employer. I didn’t know much about investing and didn’t focus on it until I was out of debt. That was a huge mistake. I missed out on some good returns during the 4 years it took to pay off my debt. I’m still kicking myself to this day. It wasn’t until I got a Betterment account when I started to take investing a little more seriously. Now, I have a Betterment account, and a few accounts at other online brokerages.
Investing can be scary for some who don’t understand it, but it’s basically using the power of compound interest to your advantage. Yes, you can lose money when you invest, but the market has a good, positive return on average over the last 30 years. Focus on the long term and don’t get flustered with short term dips. Also, never put all your eggs in one basket.
Hopefully, these investing tips will help you make the decision to start investing for yourself in the new year. It’s a great time to start and you can do it with less than $250!
Julie Rains of Investing to Thrive said:
Learn how to use financial functions of spreadsheets — so you can do your own calculations instead of relying on other people to figure stuff out for you. Start small, learning how to calculate your monthly payment on a loan and then move to projecting the future value of your retirement account contributions.
Read more on Investing to Thrive
Joseph Hogue of Peer Finance 101 said:
Don’t try to ‘beat’ the stock market by playing the trading game. Trading in and out of stocks will only lose your money in fees and taxes. Playing the amateurs’ game and avoid making the big mistakes will put you ahead of the average investor every year.
Read more on Peer Finance 101
Doug Nordman of The Military Guide said:
I hate to have to say this, but fewer than half of the servicemembers in the U.S. military have even signed up for a Thrift Savings Plan account (the military version of a 401(k))– let alone contributed to it.
An awesome personal finance tip for more than half of the military would be:
Sign up for the TSP and contribute to the L2050 fund! After your service, you can still access the funds penalty-free with a little advance planning.
Read more on The Military Guide
Rachel Hernandez of Adventures in Mobile Homes said:
When it comes to real estate investing, you make money when you buy—not when you sell.
Those who read this blog know that I quit my job this year. I had a good job for almost nine years and I got up and left it. Why? I wanted to focus on something I built and this blog and my service business were came out of me wanting to make more money. I’m a huge fan of earning more money with side hustles and building something for yourself.
While it was scary to quit my job after so long, it was time for me to move on and try my hand at entrepreneurship. While owning a business is not for everyone, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on the side to earn more and pad your existing income. Making money can change your life as it certainly has mine. I started out small, but then tried more and more things to earn more. Yes, you can try to get a raise, but those increases are finite. I want ways to make more that have no ceiling. That’s what I like to do!
Take some time to read over our great articles on making more money. You can start earning in just one weekend. The amount you make is up to how much effort you put in. If you want to make money with blogging (like I do), then head over to my very detailed “how to start a blog” guide and get to it!
Remember, you can either be an entrepreneur or you can work for one!
Kate Dore of Cashville Skyline said:
Not expecting a raise in the New Year? Maybe it’s time to consider picking up a side hustle. There are countless ways to earn extra money from the comfort of your home. And your side hustle may even turn into a new full-time career!
Read more on Cashville Skyline
Kylie Travers of The Thrifty Issue said:
Stop with the excuses. Anyone can make extra money. Don’t focus on what you lack, instead look at all the ways you can make extra money either from home, doing what you already do or in odd hours. Life isn’t so 9 – 5 anymore. Find a need and fill it!
Read more on The Thrifty Issue
Tai Stewart of Saidia Financial said:
Mystery shopping is a great way to not only make a little extra money on the side, but get services that you use regularly for FREE! Oil changes, lunches, dinners, banking services and more can be paid for through mystery shopping, and you can also receive income from it.
Read more on Saidia Financial
Stefanie O’Connell of Stefanie O’Connell.com said:
Increase your income. You can only save so much, but your earning potential is UNLIMITED!
Read more on Stefanie O’Connell.com
Louis DeNicola of Saveful said:
Don’t worry if more money than you expect is withheld from your bonus, it isn’t taxed any more than your standard pay. Special withholding rules might mean you don’t receive as much of the bonus as you’d like right away, but you’ll get what’s owed to you when you file your tax return.
Read more on Saveful
Zina Kumok of Debt Free After Three said:
Saving and investing is great, but creating passive forms of income is an important – and underutilized – tool. This year I’ve started to think about ways to make money passively, which too few people consider a possibility. Whether it’s launching a product or buying a rental property, find some way to incorporate passive income in your life.
Who doesn’t want to save more money this new year? I know I do. I love seeing money flowing into my saving and investment accounts. It’s a great feeling considering back in 2012, the money was still flowing out of my accounts into the banks hands for my credit card repayments.
I’m a saving addict and I think it’s a good thing. No, I’m not a cheapskate, but I do appreciate how I use my money more than I ever have before. Ever since I’ve jumped into blogging, I’ve learned about saving methods like using a savings bucket system. That was cool, but what changed my savings was when I found Digit. This is a free service that will save for you based on your spending habits. It’s awesome and I recommend it to anyone who wants to save more, but aren’t sure how. Try it out, it’s free!
Saving money isn’t just about putting money in your bank account, but also finding ways to reduce your expenses. I’ve switched away from Verizon in order to save. I cancelled cable years ago and haven’t looked back. These are simple things you can do in order to save money. Look over some of our articles on more ways to save money each and every day. You might be stunned on how much you’re leaving on the table!
Aaron Crowe of Add Vodka said:
Start college savings fund for child at birth. Contributing automatically each month is the easiest way to amass enough money to help your child to go to college.
Read more on Add Vodka
Jacob Wade of I Heart Budgets said:
Clothing too expensive?
Solution: Plan a “Clothing Swap”. Invite your friends over to bring in clothes they want to get rid of. All clothes are setup in the home like a clothing store, and for every item you donate, you can pick out an item to bring home. Get everyone together to “shop” the clothes they want. Free wardrobe update for everyone. Do this every 6 months to keep your style fresh.
Read more on I Heart Budgets
Kate Horrell of KateHorrell.com said:
Look into vision insurance if you wear glasses or contacts. I just purchased vision insurance for my family and it saved me $400.
Read more on KateHorrell.com
Lance Cothern of Money Manifesto said:
My favorite way to save money is to do so in a way that saves me money every month. Personally, that meant switching our cell phone providers from a big name to a discount provider. We chose Republic Wireless, but there are many options out there depending on your needs. Most will save you a decent amount of money every month over the big four major cell phone companies, some up to hundreds of dollars per year.
Read more on Money Manifesto
Aja McClanahan of Principles of Increase said:
64% of American’s don’t have $1,000 for an emergency. I would say that your first order of business should be saving. Don’t just save money, develop a habit of what I call “aggressive saving.” Learn to make saving second nature and watch your financial situation change for the better!
Read more on Principles of Increase
Elizabeth Colegrove of Reluctant Landlord said:
Make your every day housing expenses a side hustle. 1) Rent out your spare rooms. 2) Rent out you house instead of selling it when you transfer or trade up. 3) By a multi-plex live in one unit and rent out the others. 4) By house with a in law suite and rent it out. 5) Turn any of the units from a standard rental into a vacation or executive rental.
Read more on Reluctant Landlord
Jackie Cummings Koski of Money Letters said:
Shop around for the best prices on RX medications. This has become a very competitive market in the past year or so. Don’t assume that using the prescription plan with your health insurance is always the cheapest. Use generics, use coupons (I’ve seen some as much as $25 in savings) and take advantage of free medications when possible. Grocery stores Meijer (Midwest) and Publix (Southeast) both offer free antibiotics.
Follow Jackie on Twitter
Le’Chester Williams of Investing Dollars and Cents said:
Find ways to make your money work more for you. To cut down on entertainment costs I join organizations at nominal costs usually under $100 that provide me with hundreds of dollars worth of entertainment for the year. Choose not to pay for access to your money, by finding a bank or credit union with atm reimbursements and interest payments. Also if you are able to delay the gratification of making purchases you can invest your funds and pay for things with your earnings.
This is definitely an area where I need to do better and I’m going to use the new year to set up goals to do better here. Wealth management is so important and encompasses more than just money. It includes all of your assets as well.
If you’re not sure how to handle your wealth, then it might be good to check out a financial advisor to assist you. Look at the XY Planning Network to find a fee-only advisor to help. I’d also suggest you set up a free Personal Capital account in order to get a bigger picture of your money and financial situation. I’m a huge fan and started using Personal Capital years ago. It’s my go-to tool when looking over all of my finances and seeing how my wealth is doing. The best part is it’s completely free to use.
Look over these tips and start working on your overall wealth management as I plan to do in the new year! Let’s do this together.
Valerie Rind of ValerieRind.com said:
Sign a will and other end-of-life documents. Don’t leave your grieving family with a financial mess to clean up if you die intestate (without a will).
Read more on ValerieRind.com
Christine Odle of Rockin Beeby said:
Anytime you have the opportunity to physically swipe a plastic card, switch to paper money! This reduces over spending dramatically. Long term you will save more money for the rest of your life.
Read more on Rockin Beeby
Aaron Hatch, CFP® of Woven Capital said:
Stock picking might be exciting, but the line between exciting and scary is very narrow. There’s a huge downside if today’s hot stock turns out to be tomorrow’s bad buy. For a sound financial future, keep investments a little boring — in other words invest in a well diversified portfolio of low-cost investments.
Read more on Woven Capital
Cliff Pendell of JRC Insurance Group said:
Layering life insurance coverage can save you thousands of dollars. For example, let’s say you have a $600,000 mortgage for 30 years. Your mortgage balance will decrease overtime, decreasing the amount of life insurance you need as you get older. To save money, you can purchase two $300,000 policies for 20 and 30 years and your mortgage will still be protected.
Read more on JRC Insurance Group
Follow Cliff on Facebook
Natalie Bacon of Financegirl said:
Before you can build wealth and create the financial freedom you want for yourself, you need to get on a written financial plan. Set financial goals and commit to a specific financial plan whereby you track your progress over time. Without a written plan, it will be very hard to achieve financial success.
Not every financial tip I got fit into the the categories above, but instead of just dropping them, I wanted to place them in an encompassing “other” category. These aren’t specific to the other categories, but they are still important for you to read over. There is even a great tip in there about not loaning your parents money. It’s quick and painless, but makes a good point. Unless you’re very careful, loaning money to family members can get nasty really quick!
Hui-chin Chen of Money Matters for Globetrotters said:
If you have scouted all the great personal finance tips year after year, but never really were able to implement any of them and turn you life around, you should know that you don’t need more information. What you need is a coach that can knows what tips work on you and keep you accountable.
Read more on Money Matters for Globetrotters
Follow Hui-chin on Twitter
Valerie Rind of ValerieRind.com said:
Don’t loan money to your parents.
Read more on ValerieRind.com
Thomas Nitzsche of Clear Point Credit Counseling said:
When facing a major home repair, understand and exhaust all your options – especially if you have poor credit or a tight budget. This can include non-loan options such as grant and IDA programs as well as financing options like credit unions and peer lending.
Read more on Clear Point Credit Counseling
Chris Huntley of Huntley Wealth said:
While just about every personal finance expert in the U.S. agrees you should avoid whole life insurance and buy term instead (and invest the difference), a staggering 66% of all individual insurance policies purchased per year are whole life. The problem with whole life, from a consumer’s perspective, is it’s confusing. It has two benefits, life insurance and supplemental retirement income, which makes it difficult for consumers to separate the benefits to see if they are getting a “good deal” on both. Therefore, if you’re shopping for life insurance and being pitched whole life (or currently have a whole life policy), compare the cost to a 20 or 30 year term policy, and discuss your decision with a financial planner, rather than just your insurance agent.
Read more on Huntley Wealth
Jason Dana of Term Life Advice said:
When shopping for life insurance, beware of only getting quotes from captive agents (agents who work exclusively for one insurance carrier such as State Farm or New York Life agents). An experienced, independent life insurance agent can literally save an insured hundreds or thousands per year, since they are able to “shop the market” to get you the best deal.
Valerie Rind of ValerieRind.com said:
Forget about New Year’s Resolutions to pay off debt or invest more or stick to a budget. It’s too overwhelming and you’re likely setting yourself up for failure. Instead, focus on one small thing you can do in January 2016 to improve your finances.