5 Ways to Start Saving Money in the New Year

If your New Year’s resolution is to get your finances in order, these guidelines will help you get started.

In this economy—and especially during this time of year—many of us are facing our very own fiscal cliff. While we may not be able to raise revenue as easily as the federal government can, these five steps may help you reach solvency and put savings in the bank, financial planners say.

  1. Get organized. Put due dates for bills on an electronic calendar and you’ll get email reminders to avoid late fees. A good filing system will help when tax time rolls around and will be useful in the next step below.
  2. Get a budget. There’s a ton of free online resources for this, including mint.com and budgettracker.com. Some even track your bills.
  3. Get a debit card—and some scissors for your credit cards. Better yet, pay cash whenever possible. It’s a fact that most people spend more when using a credit card. And if you use a credit card, pay the full amount owed each month. Servicing that debt will only get you deeper into debt.
  4. Get a handle on your credit score. The first three steps will help with this. A higher credit score can help you get a better interest rate if you’re looking to lower your home mortgage by refinancing, or help you get lower credit rates in general. You can check on your credit score for free by going to the government website annualcreditreport.com.
  5. Get professional help. Nonprofits like Money Management International offer assistance at no charge. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University has helped many people become debt and financial-worry free. Ramsey’s service isn’t free, but you can get a one-week free trial to test whether it fits your needs.

Once you’re free of debt and ready to grow your savings, you can look to financial services companies for investment advice, including banks (Bank of America, Wells Fargo and others), insurers (State Farm, Allianz and others) and brokers (Edward Jones, for example).

Good luck.

SueLee January 02, 2013 at 04:22 PM
As a long time coach for Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, I can highly recommend it (I have seen it turn lives around 100% for the better!) - and would strongly recommend you invest in the CLASS. There is a lot to be said for the accountability that comes with going to class each week, rather than being on your own online. Plus you pick up lots of suggestions and great tips and encouragement along the way. Go to www.DaveRamsey.com, type in your zip code and find a class near you! You'll never regret it.
1 January 02, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Dave Ramsey is a dope. His "advice" may help borderline mentally rchallenged people but otherwise he just loudly repeats ( and charges money to hear/read) what most people already know. Don't spend more than you have and avoid going into debt for stuff you don't need. The fact is Ramsey is just another shill making money off of stupid people. How much do his books cost? How much is it to attend one of his "classes"? PLEASE! Take this spam some place else.
For what its worth January 02, 2013 at 09:31 PM
As far as I could tell, www.annualcreditreport.com provides free credit reports annually, Not a free credit score.
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