10 Money Things to Reevaluate with the New Year
4 min read
Throughout the course of the year we tend to forget minor aspects that have a huge impact on our everyday lives. This blog post will help you revisit some of those things that get lost in translation.
When was the last time you looked into your federal and state withholdings? Do you get a big refund every year or do you owe every year? With the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, your tax rate most likely has been reduced. The standard deduction almost doubles from $6,350 to $12,000. The head of household deduction went from $9,350 to $18,000. Also, if you have children the child tax credit doubled from $1000 to $2000. Talk with your tax person to adjust your allowances accordingly.
9.) Cable/Internet and Cell Phone Bills
Call up your cable/internet provider/phone company to check if they have a cheaper service available. Cable and Cell phone companies have specials year round that may be cheaper than what you’re currently paying. I reduced both of my internet and cell phone services by a combined $40 a month. That’s almost $500 a year I put back into my pocket simply just by calling and asking if a cheaper service was available.
Are you going to blow your whole check when you get it? or are you going to track your expenses for 2019? You can start fresh at the beginning of the new year with a new budget in place. I’m pretty sure you want to purchase nice things, pay down debt or travel more in 2019. So why not plan for it? It’s pretty simple to track your spending nowadays with apps like mint.com and personalcapital.com. Or you can do it the old fashioned way and write your expenses down. Do not continue to live beyond your means and wonder why you can’t get anything accomplished. Make a plan and stick to it!! As far as saving accounts go, there are online banks like Ally and Capital One that offer up to 2% annual percentage yields. Check the current interest rate on your savings account and compare.
7.) Grad School/Certification
Are you going back to school to further advance in your career field? If so, will that certification or degree increase your market rate? Is the investment worth it? Especially if you’re taking out student loans. Some employees become disappointed when they realize that their master’s degree or certification did not land them the pay increase they desired. Research and find out how much people are earning with the higher education you’re seeking within the location you’re trying to work.
6.) Credit and Credit Score
What is holding you back from a 700+ credit score? Can you get negative items removed from your credit? Have disputed any false information with the three main credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian? Are you trying to pay off any debt? Do you have a plan? Here’s how I built my credit score.
5.) Car Situation
Are you paying a high car note? Can you refinance for a better rate? Can you make payments towards your principal to reduce the loan amount faster? Are you shopping around for cheaper car insurance? Car insurance usually renews every 6 months, but make sure you’re comparing the rates each time. Don’t just agree to whatever your current insurance has to offer.
4.) Living Space
Are you paying too much for your mortgage or apartment? Have you thought about downsizing or getting a roommate? Can you relocate to a cheaper place? In 2015 I downsized my apartment from 1350 to 980 square feet and freed up over $300 a month. (How I Saved by Moving) I know it’s much harder to move when you own a home, but that is something that you should reconsider if you’re house poor.
3.) Retirement and Investing
Are you on track for whenever you want to retire? Do you know how much you need to retire and live comfortably? Are you investing enough to accomplish this? These are some major questions to evaluate now even though retirement seems so far-fetched. The decisions and habits you make today will have a greater effect 20/30/40 years down the line. Speak to your HR about increasing your 401k/403b contributions. If your employer doesn’t have this option, open up an IRA(Individual Retirement Account). If you’re self-employed look into a Solo 401k or SEP IRA. There are plenty of options when it comes to investing for retirement.
2.) Side Hustle
2019 is the year to start that passion project you’ve been putting off all 2018. There will never be a perfect time, so you might as well get started and learn as you go. You’re not going to be perfect, but the key is making the effort and striving for perfection.
And finally… Are you currently happy with your job? Are you being paid at a fair market rate? If not, explore the options around you. Making extra income can turbo boost your financial goals like paying off debt, saving for a down payment or investing etc.… Don’t be afraid to branch out there. Nothing great comes out of the comfort zone.