Don't Get Stuck by the Financial Ghosts of Christmas Past!

2016 is here! It's in full swing and most people have the best intentions to start something new, but what about financially? Sure we want to lose weight, read more, or visit more of the world, but when do we ever set up new financial resolutions? If you're stuck in 2015's financial ghost of Christmas past, below are some tips to combat them!

The Ghost of Debt

This year you REALLY want to turn your debt around and karate chop it like a watermelon. Use PowerPay! PowerPay is a great tool to help you get the ball rolling on your debt. The website is *free* and run by our friends over at Utah State University Extension. The best thing about PowerPay is that it shows you how long it will take to pay off your debt without the "power payments" as well as with "power payments." (Think of a power payment like the famous Italian crime fighter eating a mushroom and getting bigger, they power you up!) PowerPay gives you a plan and can help you start to crush your debt!

The Ghost of Saving

This year you REALLY want to start saving for (fill in the blank). Whatever your dream is that you're saving for, motivate yourself this year and take the America Saves pledge! By pledging your savings goal, America Saves will send you tips, reminders and text messages (if you want) to help keep you motivated. Think of them as your personal trainer in savings!

One of the fastest ways to save is with automated savings. Whether it's through your employer for your 401(k), your own savings account or a piggy bank when you get on a schedule to save, the easier it becomes. (You may even forget that $50/month is getting sent to a bank account that you can't easily access!)

The Ghost of Money

This year you REALLY want to make more money, but are maxed out working 40+ hours a week already. Whatever the extra money is for (maybe paying off debt or finally saving) there are only two ways to achieve it.

  1. Decrease Expenses – as hard as this can be, seeing what you're spending your money on can help to decide what is really important. Eating out is a big culprit for most people, instead of going out three times a week, try once a week or inviting your friends over for a pot luck brunch. It may feel different at first to try something new, but your budget and wallet will thank you!
  2. Increase Income – no one wants to get a weekend or part-time job, but when desperate times call for desperate measures, you got to step up to the plate. This last year I've been seeing a lot about "side hustles" -- ways for people to make money on the side. While there are tons of different ways of making money outside of work, always be cautious of scams. If it feels funny or wrong to you, don't get involved. Find something you love and see if there is a way to make money from it, whether it's landscaping, photography or pet sitting!

Hopefully your 2016 will the best year yet! If not, don't let the ghosts of 2015 get you down, especially the ghosts of debt, saving and money! Find ways to combat them, giving them a high kick doesn't hurt either!