Set yourself up for success this year. Check out these five new year’s resolutions that are easy to keep and sure to put you on the financial fast track.
1. Stay on Top of News That Affects Your Finances
From the new tax brackets to local projects and policies, changes in the news can directly affect your pocket change. That’s why it’s important to stay informed, and today that’s thankfully a pretty simple task. Try making it a part of your daily routine. Dedicate just fifteen minutes to checking in with the financial world.
You can throw a few financial Google alerts on your account so you catch changes as they roll in. Use your alerts to track what’s happening with companies or funds you’re invested in, follow what the Fed is doing with interest rates or even get alerts when your favorite news outlets post new financial articles.
Curate your news with an app that allows you to view news stories by topic or by specific publications. Found a great finance blog? wink, wink Some news aggregator applications will even let you add them to the list, so you don’t miss a single wise word.
2. Update Account Passwords
Passwords can pile up like t-shirts on laundry day, but keeping them fresh and varied is vital to your security—particularly when it comes to your finances. According to an Intel survey of over 2,000 participants, the average adult had 27 passwords in 2016. So, while this task is simple enough, it can be a bit time consuming.
Spread it out over time. Start with your financial applications and online accounts. Then as you interact with your various password-protected profiles, go ahead and change your passwords one at a time. Completely unique passwords for every account is the safest option, and don’t forget to throw in some special characters.
Worried you’ll forget some if not all of your 27 passwords? Try a password manager application. They’ll help you store and manage all of your passwords, and all you have to remember is the password to your manager. They’ll even help you generate some strong passwords for all of your accounts.
Check out the Security Commitment page on the Capital One site for more tips on staying protected online.
3. Take Stock of What’s on Autopay
Auto payments can be great. As long as there are funds in your accounts, you never miss a payment. But do you still use every service you’re automatically paying for every month?
Do a quick scan of your account and see what automatic payments are coming out of your pocket each month. If you find you’re paying for a service you no longer need, go ahead and cancel it. Struggling to remember to pay for new services you’re using? Go ahead and set up autopay for those instead.
You can even use autopay as a motivator to keep other resolutions alive. Switch your gym membership payments to autopay and you’ll be more likely to go back if you automatically have some skin in the game each month. Resolved to give back this year? Set up a monthly automatic payment to your favorite charity.
4. Revisit Old Contracts That May Be up for Renewal
While you’re perusing your various services on autopay, take a minute to figure out which service contracts may be up for renewal this year. Is your cable or internet going up another five dollars and fifty-seven cents? Give them a call and see if you can negotiate for a lower rate. They may be offering a promotional rate you can ask for, or sometimes you can save yourself an extra monthly expense by buying your own wireless modem instead of renting one from your provider.
Want to save on rent this year? Call your management company and see if you can take on a longer lease for a lower monthly payment. Signing a longer lease can also change your renewal month to a better time of year when prices are slightly lower.
5. Make the Most of Your Credit Cards
You did the research before you got your cards, but are you using them best way possible? Revisit your credit card agreements, and find out how you can get the most out of each of them.
For instance, do you get more points on groceries with one card and more points at the gas station with another? Switch up card usage based on your spending habits to maximize what you get back. Maybe even consider getting a new card based on the things you buy most often. Check out these tips on how to master the benefits of credit cards as you choose a new one.
If you have a business card, using it on regular, business expenses such as maintaining inventory can yield significant rewards. Take a look at the Spark Business blog on getting the most out of your business credit card to learn more.