8 Money Resolutions to Make (and Actually Keep) in 2017
Thou shalt not wait too long to book your summer rental
Making (and actually keeping) your New Year’s resolutions is super hard—unless, of course, they relate directly to your bottom line. That’s why we checked in with our friends over at financial planning firm Stash Wealth to find out the most important money resolutions to follow through on in 2017.
Book Your Summer Rental in January
It’s never too soon to start peeping Airbnb—or regular hotel—availability for your annual vacay out of town. After all, popular vacation locales fill up quick in anticipation of glorious warm-weather months. Even better, the early bird has a better chance of snagging a deal. Have a big family with a ton of calendars to coordinate? Send out a doodle—and a deadline to commit.
And Start Saving for Christmas 2017 Now
Sure, you’re still recovering from 2016, but adding a monthly budget line—say $25 per paycheck—can have you swimming in Christmas cash ($600 to be exact) by the end of next year. All you have to do is call your bank and set up a separate savings account with automatic transfers you don’t have to think twice about. Done.
Commit to Never Using Out-of-Network ATMs
When happy hour calls—and you’re out of cash—all bets are off. But at $2 to $5 per transaction, out-of-network fees can seriously cost you by year’s end. A better plan: Come up with a strategy (for example, always keep two crisp $20s out of sight in your wallet or glove compartment) or take the plunge and switch to a fee-free bank.
And Cancel Any Subscriptions That Go Unused
Whether it’s your gym membership or Netflix, it’s not worth the monthly fee if you rarely use it. An app like Truebill can actually help scan your credit and debit cards for recurring charges so you can get a grip on (and cancel) superfluous expenses.
Move Your Savings Account to an Online Bank
Brick-and-mortar banks aren’t what they used to be, and a lot of reputable financial institutions are springing up with online-only services (like high-yield savings accounts) that are much more competitive than those offered by physical banks. Case in point: Ally Bank offers an annual percentage yield of 1 percent. (Think about it: If you have $10K in your savings, you’ll make another $100 over the course of 2017.) Worth relocating your savings? We think so.
And Direct Deposit Your Tax Refund
The temptation is real to blow your entire tax refund on clothes—or that summer vacation house. But when you file taxes, you get to choose the exact location where your refund goes. A good rule of thumb: Automatically put 60 percent somewhere you won’t see it or be tempted to spend it. (For example, maybe you can use it to start a Roth IRA.)
Call Your Credit Card Company and Find Out About All the Perks
A simple phone call and you could discover that your Visa offers car insurance, points for a free hotel stay or more. Make a pact with yourself to set aside 20 to 30 minutes to make the call during business hours, when you’ll get a real live person on the phone. After all, knowledge is power—those non-financial bonuses can really add up.
Invest in a Top-Notch Paper Shredder
Identity theft is real. If you’re going to organize yourself for the new year (read: toss old credit card statements and ATM receipts), splurge on the proper tools—like this high-tech shredder—so your trash isn’t someone else’s financial treasure.