The new year marks that time when individuals reflect on the last 365 days and what they can do differently to be more successful. While we’d like to think we have all the answers, truth is, we all need a little help when it comes to managing our big bad finances. So, we’ve compiled a list of five expert tips to manage your bread in the year ahead.
1. Zero in on your FICO score: Everyone’s got to start somewhere. We suggest taking a closer look at your debts owed. A sentiment Teri Williams, president and CEO of OneUnited Bank and author of “I Got Bank: What My Granddad Taught Me About Money,” appears to share.
“FICO is the most widely used credit score, which is a number that represents your credit worthiness or likelihood to pay back a loan,” Williams once told Essence. “It is a calculated compilation of past due debts you owe, frequency of past due debts, type of debt, bankruptcy and other information.”
Of all the information included in your FICO score, Williams stated that the frequency of payments has the biggest influence on your rating.
2. Find a partner: “Often, reaching your goals requires enlisting the help of a friend so you remain accountable.” Tiffany Aliche, better known as “The Budgetnista,” who developed the Live Richer Challenge to help women accomplish just that in 2015, once told U.S. News.
“Work toward specific financial goals with an accountability partner,” she says. “… Money management is a team sport.”
3. Take action: “This economic recession has really hurt many of our credit scores. We are not alone. It’s important that we not be so ashamed that we don’t take action. Everyone can rebuild credit. By following some simple steps over time, it’s very doable,” co-founder of My Fab Finance recently told Essence.
Those steps include: setting (and sticking to) a budget, transferring “credit card balances to an introductory offer with no interest for a year or two,” or for those already with excellent credit, ask for a higher credit card limit – in turn, “lowering your credit card utilization rate, which is a contributing factor to your credit score.”
4. Let spring cleaning boost your budget: If you’re anything like us, the new year is accompanied by rummaging through old items. Instead of tossing them, repurpose them, sell them online, have a garage sale, or trade in gently worn clothes for cash or store credit towards thrifted goods at a variety of stores like Buffalo Exchange, Rag-O-Rama, or Plato’s Closet – among others.
“Go online and get to listing some of your unwanted stuff that you think someone will buy and watch your trash magically turn into cold, hard cash,” Patrice C. Washington, author of “Real Money Answers for Every Woman,” told UpScale Magazine.
“Use websites like ebay.com, craigslist.com and etsy.com. But don’t be lazy. Your chances of making quick sales greatly increase when you put a little thought and time into creating your listings. Start out with catchy and descriptive headlines to get a prospective buyer’s attention. Do your research and write an in-depth description of what you’re selling,” she added.
5. Invest in your future: Sharon Epperson, CNBC senior personal finance correspondent, suggests stashing as much money as possible in Roth retirement accounts. “”You could be in a higher or lower tax bracket when you’re in your 60s, who knows? With a Roth IRA or a Roth 401(k), after age 59 ½, you’ll generally be able to withdraw your money tax-free,” Epperson told U.S. News.