We see the same thing happen every year. The ball drops to ring in the new year, and we’re all feeling pretty great about our resolutions for the year. For the time being, at least.
But it’s not January anymore. Let’s check in. How are those resolutions holding up?
No shame if you’ve gotten off track — we all do! But that’s why we’re here to argue for making resolutions throughout the year. No need to stress yourself out in January with seven must-dos, when you can tackle your goals one at a time. You’ll probably have a better chance of seeing them through, anyway.
Here are seven financial goals you can tackle this year. Start with a couple, and see what you can accomplish in the next few months! These are your resolutions — do them in a way that works for you.
Money Goal No. 1: Build Up Your Emergency Fund
If there’s one thing we learned in 2020, it was that most of us were unprepared for an emergency. And unfortunately, building up your emergency fund isn’t really possible when you are, in fact, in the middle of that emergency.
So with 20/20 hindsight (literally), make your emergency fund a priority. Contribute to it when you can, and aim to have enough saved to cover between three and six months of expenses.
If you haven’t opened a separate emergency account yet, or you want to earn more interest on the money you’re saving, try using a company called Aspiration. It will give you $100 just for opening a new debit card account.
Sure, a lot of accounts offer sign-up bonuses throughout the year, but they often require you to jump through hoops with minimum requirements that feel impossible to hit.
But Aspiration makes it simple. To earn your $100, here’s all you need to do: Open your Aspiration account and deposit at least $10. Then set up and receive three direct deposits of at least $500 each from your paycheck or government benefits. That’s it! Then just wait for your check.
Even better? Your money earns 16 times more interest than the average banking account.
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
Money Goal No. 2: Reduce Your Credit Card Debt
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape… You keep adding it to your New Years’ Resolutions list but it feels impossible to accomplish.
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help you knock out this year-round money goal
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
Money Goal No. 3: Slim Down Your Budget
Well first, make sure you have a budget. Then make it your year-round goal to check in every few months — there are likely expenses you can cut or change to free up more money. For example, when was the last time you checked car insurance prices?
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $540 a year.
Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
Money Goal No. 4: Check In On Your Credit Score and Improve It
When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. And not just in January when you add it to your list of resolutions! After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car. So add this to your list of year-round money goals.
If you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame.
Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one).
James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.*** “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said.
Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up.
Money Goal No. 5: Stop Overpaying When You Shop Online
With the amount of online shopping we’re all doing, it can become overwhelming going to 15 different websites trying to find the best price on each item. But now you can add this goal to your year-round resolutions and cut out the time-and-energy-sucking task of price comparison.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online at Target and are about to overpay?
That’s exactly what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the extension using the links provided.
***Like Cooper, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.
Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.