15 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances in 2017
Published On November 8th, 2016

Are you ready to make some positive changes to your finances? The least painless way to make a remarkable change is to make many simple changes. Dramatic results are possible with easy changes. Is this the year that you finally make significant advances in your personal finances?

Small changes can bring big results:

1. Compare insurance rates. Compare your insurance rates to the other options available. That includes your auto, home, disability, and so on. Check them all. You’re bound to save some money each month for the entire year.

2. Review your cable and internet service. Cable bills can quickly get out of hand. Take a look at the channels and services you use and need. Determine if a lower-level package is more appropriate. Review the offerings of other cable providers, too.

3. Review your credit report. Up to 30% of credit reports contain errors. Remember that you have three reports. Check them all for errors each year. If you find any mistakes, have them corrected to reflect accurate information.

4. Review your cellphone usage and bill. Are you paying too much for data that you never use? Downsize your plan. Have you had your phone for over two years? You can move to a prepaid plan that costs much less.

5. Build an emergency account. If you’re spending all of your money each month, you don’t have a cushion to deal with the unexpected. Three months’ worth of expenses is the standard advice. Get started today.

6. Spend less on food. Food is a significant monthly expense. Shopping with cost in mind can yield significant savings.

7. Use a cash back credit card. That 1% cash back bonus can add up to a considerable amount. If you use your card to get the cash back bonuses, be sure to pay off the balance each month, or the interest charges will cost you more than you’re getting back in bonuses.

8. Create financial goals. Make a few financial goals that are reasonable to achieve in the next 12 months. Goals can address net worth, income, savings, taxes, or anything else you deem important.

9. Read a personal finance book. Choose any topic, but learn something new that can be applied to your finances in 2017.

10. Transfer your credit card balances to a card with no interest. Avoid paying high interest rates on your credit card debt. Be sure to read the fine print and understand all of the details.

11. Save automatically. Set up your paycheck or account to ensure that you save money each paycheck automatically. This can be a savings account, brokerage account, IRA, 401(k) or another option.

12. Save more. Increase the amount you’re currently saving by a small amount. Next month, increase it by a little more. You won’t notice the change in your take-home pay, but you’ll notice the increase in your savings.

13. Keep tabs on your net worth. Once a month, calculate your net worth and track the changes. It’s easy to make a nice chart or graph with Excel.

14. Start an account to save for your child’s education. Look into 529 plans and begin saving for the future.

15. Anticipate your future expenses and plan ahead. Does your car have over 200,000 miles? Is your central A/C over 10 years old? It’s only a matter of time before a major expense is headed your way. Begin planning today.

Each of these recommendations will only take a few minutes of your time. Yet imagine the changes you’ll experience in your finances if you take the time to do them all! Focus on making small changes that make a difference. Enhancing your financial position doesn’t have to be painful. Make the most of the year ahead.

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