Get your New Year off to a smart financial start
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New Year’s Eve arrives this week and will send us hurtling into 2016. It’s not too late to make resolutions for the New Year, and we’ve got 10 financial tips for you to be money smart in the New Year. Click here for #1 through #5 in part one of this two-part series and read on below for #6 through #10 of our tips for better finances in 2016.
#6 Sell what you don’t need
You likely have hundreds – perhaps thousands – of dollars of unused items sitting around your house. Hoarding things you don’t use and don’t need makes no sense. Sell it off – use Craigslist as a convenient free option – or plan twice yearly garage sales. For clothing, you may want to sell at consignment shops or use them for trade in value towards gently used clothing to resupply your closet. For items you sell for cash, put the money towards your emergency fund, credit cards, or other debt – or invest it in your retirement savings. You’ll have more room in your house and more money.
#7 Cut costs where you can
There are many areas of your life where you can cut costs. Your local library is a trove of free movies, music, books, and magazines can all be had there for gratis. Cut back your cable to the minimum or ditch it all together and just go with Netflix and network free streaming options. Cut back on eating out and drinking alcohol outside of your home. Do you throw out uneaten food every week? You may need to pare back on your grocery shopping of perishable foods. Also, stock up on canned food so you always have something on hand so you can always eat in - you’ll save big bucks this way.
#8 Ditch the name brands
Name brands come at premium prices with virtually no difference in quality for many types of items. Skip the premium gas, brand name foods, spendy designer label duds, and other items that cost more simply because of the name attached. Experiment with cheaper goods to find favorite substitutes with no loss in quality and you can have a cheaper lifestyle with little changes to make savings happen. This goes for nearly everything in your life. There’s no downside to trying out cheaper brands of everything from bread to appliances. Check review sites to help you screen choices to try and then test and save.
#9 Increase your deductibles on all policies
Increasing the deductible on your home and auto policies can change you hundreds of dollars in premium costs each year. Also, consider a health plan with higher deductibles and lower premiums. So long as you don’t need surgery or major procedures, you may not use your health insurance deductible. Any financial agreement in your life that has a deductible will usually come with a lower cost for a higher threshold. Just be sure and check with your mortgage and auto lender to see if they have specific requirements you must meet. Your emergency fund can cover the deductible in case of loss.
#10 Make your home cheaper to run
You can save big bucks on energy costs by making a few nips and tucks to your home and some modifications here and there. Keeping the heat or A/C off when you’re not home will save hundreds of dollars a year. No need to warm or cool your house when you’re not there. Wash your clothes in cold water, insulate windows and drafty doors in the window and keep lights off you don’t need. For lights that stay on all the time, switch to LED for energy-saving illumination. Also, keep the thermostat lower in winter, keep socks on inside the house, and extra blankets around so you save but stay comfortable.
Bankruptcy can help you get your finances back on track
If your debt is more than you can afford on your salary, you’re living paycheck to paycheck, can’t save and have no breathing room in your budget, you need help. Consider Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy for a financial reset. Chapter 7 completely eliminates many debts and Chapter 13 gives you time to catch up on your house or car loan. Don’t let unmanageable debt control your life in the New Year. Get help.
Contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt for a free North Carolina bankruptcy consultation. Call +1-919-646-2654 for a free appointment at one of our locations in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Wilson, Greensboro, Garner or Wilmington. Be debt-free in the New Year – we can help.