January has come and gone. You may or may not have stuck to your resolutions, but the good news is that February is here. Now is the perfect time to hunker down and get your monetary ducks in a row. Here are a few things to put on your agenda to get your financial house in order.
Pay Off Holiday Debt
Yes, it was fun to go shopping for holiday gifts, but those interest rates are high – you’ll want to pay your balances off as quickly as possible. And here’s a tip: you can make more than one payment per billing period. In other words, instead of waiting for your next paycheck, pay some of the balance now and some later. This will reduce the interest you’d pay if you waited two more weeks to pay in full. This way, you can actually pay your credit card bills more frequently and pay less over time. While you’re at it, look for lower interest rates and transfer those balances. All it takes is a Google search for “zero balance transfer credit card offers,” and you’ll find what you need in no time.
Start Working on Your Taxes
April will be here before you know it, so getting a jump on taxes is a smart idea. Also, filing early will give you more time to figure out how much you owe, if anything. If you want to take the guesswork out of preparing your taxes, you might consider hiring a tax professional. When you make your selection, ask for a price quote. Some tax preparers often want to see which forms you need before they work on your taxes, but you can still ask for a list of fees for various types of tax help to get a ballpark idea. Here’s a red flag: if someone says they’ll base your fees on a percentage of your refund, run away. This is a violation of IRS rules.
Get a Free Credit Report
All the big reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – offer a free report one time every 12 months. So why not find out? When you see the truth of your credit report, it can motivate you to change some habits, like paying earlier, more often, and on time. No one likes late fees.
Save on a Gym Membership
In January, you probably got pummeled with lots of solicitations for a gym membership at low, low prices, but in February, the prices are even lower. If you don’t want to commit, you can sign up for a trial run. You can even negotiate a deal if you ask to speak to the manager. Finally, some gyms will offer you a deep discount if you agree to use the facilities during off-peak hours or on certain days. Flexibility is the key!
Buy Things on Deep Discount
With high prices and high-interest rates, it makes sense to check out all the price cuts on Consumer Reports. On this site, you’ll find all the good stuff: cars, home and garden supplies, appliances, electronics, and more.
These are just a few of the items you can put on your financial to-do list. All it takes is carving out some time and getting started. Once you get going, you’ll probably make more progress than you ever dreamed.