Another year, another set of resolutions to make. In 2016, put a financial spin on them for your wealthiest year yet. We asked Alexa von Tobel, finance expert and CEO of LearnVest for tips on how to keep your money in check all year long. Scroll down for six ideas that will have you seeing dollar signs.
1. Stop, evaluate your finances, and listen.
Von Tobel says, first and foremost, it’s important to get a full evaluation to see where your finances stand. “Think of it as going to the doctor and getting a full physical,” she explains. “You need to get a full comprehensive financial exam to figure out where you have risks.” Without a plan, there is no proper way to move forward with your money.
2. Find your golden spending number and stick to it.
Half of your paycheck should be set aside for everyday necessities like rent, groceries, and bills. Twenty percent should go into a savings account, while the remaining 30 percent can be spent on the fun stuff! “It is basically how much money you are allowed to spend every single month,” von Tobel says. “Every other dollar that crosses your financial life should be put toward what goals you want to achieve.”
3. Set up a clever email just for your bills.
Create a secondary email so incoming bills don’t get lost among the online flash sales, updates from grandma, and junk e-mail. “Set up a simple email address like firstname.lastname@example.org,” von Tobel says. “All of your bills go to one place. It is crazy organized.”
4. Start talking about money (it’s no longer taboo!).
Von Tobel says just discussing money is a step in the right direction; the more you talk about it, the more educated you become. “Resolve to not let money be the thing that holds you back in 2016,” she adds. “It feels so amazing when you know you don’t have to worry about it.”
5. Take advantage of technology.
Von Tobel suggests using Google Alerts throughout the year to set up weekly, monthly, and quarterly financial reminders. “Have a financial summit every January on what you are trying to accomplish,” she says. “Every quarter, check your credit score, and check your credit report annually (at least).”
6. Share your goals with loved ones.
Tell your closest family members and friends what you hope to achieve, and the sheer fear of disappointing them may make you more likely to follow through. “Whether you want to hold your goals with you or ask someone to hold you accountable, it really helps to have a second set of ears,” von Tobel says.