The end of the year is always bittersweet. While some of us fondly reflect on the year that was, others of us are looking forward to the fresh start that accompanies the New Year.
As we prepare our homes, hearts and budgets for all to come in 2019, the team at DebtWave Credit Counseling wanted to share financial tips and tricks we’ve learned in the last year, as well as our own personal financial goals.
Lessons from 2018
“While I have been on the planet for over 60 years, I never knew about debt management programs and have enjoyed learning about the industry and how it really does provide education and guidance to assist consumers about financial wellness, specifically credit card debt. It has been a pleasure assisting our clients and relieving them of the stress associated with debt that can feel out of control. I’ve learned that getting into debt is so easy, it’s almost stealth like and mysteriously mounts up to a point where suddenly you are in trouble.
“A couple of key takeaways that I have found helpful for me is if you find yourself using credit cards for everyday purchases you are heading for trouble. Reserve credit card purchases for emergencies. If you can’t pay for something you want, then you can’t afford it. Always think about whether the purchase is a ‘want’ verses a ‘need.’ Should you find yourself in financial distress, don’t beat yourself up, recognize that you are not alone and there are options for assistance. Once you get the assistance you need, use what you’ve learned as a constant reminder to keep from repeating the cycle.” – Jennifer H.
“I plan to continue saving as we head into 2019. By saving $3.50 for coffee a day and investing it in a low diversified Roth IRA, you’re estimated to have $106,000 after 30 years.” -Shirley M.
“I have a few different tips I’d like to share. To earn some extra cash, once or twice a year I will have a small garage sale to sell off things I don’t need to make money and room for things I do need. I am also a creative type and make a lot of the gifts and cards I give over the year to save money. I also have my bank account set up to automatically round-up debit card purchases which then transfers to my savings account. Lastly, when available I will utilize 0 percent APR on credit like with medical/dental bills with Synchrony but I always, always, ALWAYS make sure it is paid off before it expires so I do not get hit with the deferred interest. I made the mistake of not doing this once and it cost me $1,300 in interest charges I could have avoided! Personally I don’t think Synchrony needed that extra $1,300, do you?” -Mika Z.
“This year my wife, Jodi, and I learned that we spend way less money when we use cash instead of credit cards. We started giving ourselves a family allowance for stuff like coffee or going out to eat. Once that cash is gone, we cannot go out. It is very eye opening to see how much money you can spend when you are just swiping a card. It has also been fun because it is a challenge to figure out how to stay in budget this week. It’s also helped us view going out to eat as a special time instead of just routine.” -Adriana S.
“My wife’s and my financial resolution, if you want to call it that, is to put more money away for memories versus things. With our kids at the ages they are, 10 and eight, we have really come to love the times we have together experiencing new places and fun together with family and friends. The fun part of this is the kids have really bought into this as well. The primary decision on this was to stay in our current home and making a few changes (kitchen) versus looking for a larger home and increasing our monthly mortgage obligation. Would rather have that extra money to experience life outside of the home.” -Chase P.
“One of my clients gave me this idea: When she graduates from the DebtWave debt management program, she’s going to pay herself first by transferring the funds she was using to pay off her credit cards to a savings account.” -Dawn S.
“Stop viewing credit as something you can pay back later and start considering it the same as cash. Once you start equating credit with the hard cash in your wallet, you start thinking twice about using it.” -Christopher M.
What are your financial resolutions for 2019? Tell us in the comments below!