Four money tips for 2018

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  • Money focus: if financial targets top your new year's resolutions, you have a good chance of success

    Money focus: if financial targets top your new year's resolutions, you have a good chance of success

Do you ever feel like you’re in a chronic cash crunch? That can put a real damper on your days, and take the hope and expectation out of a new year.

But if money tops your list of new year’s resolutions, you’re in luck! Research shows you’re on the road to success.

According to Fidelity Investments, 56 per cent of people who resolved to improve their finances last year did just that. Better yet, 83 per cent said last year’s financial resolution is an ongoing event instead of a one-time goal. Who knew change could be so exciting?

Put those resolutions into action — and get a leg up on your happy new year — with these four money hacks.

1. Use cold, hard cash

Lots of folks choose plastic over cash for everyday purchases, and research shows that can lead you to spend more. Why? According to a Journal of Experimental Psychology study, parting with cash really is sweet sorrow. Plastic simply doesn’t tug at your emotional strings in quite the same way.

So, put a little more pain back into your purchases. Use envelopes to divvy your dollars up across everyday budget categories. You might have one for groceries, restaurants, entertainment, clothing, and pocket money.

On payday, fill your envelopes with the cash you budgeted for each category. When an envelope’s empty, the spending stops for that category until your next paycheque. It’s that simple!

2. Give impulse buys a 30-day notice

You went to the store for one thing, and somehow ended up with a cart full of stuff. Sound familiar? If so, join the crowd. A recent study found five in six Americans are impulse shoppers.

We all know it pays to sleep on a big money decision overnight. But what about smaller purchases that crop up throughout the month? Why not add them to your wish list and wait 30 days? That gives you a chance to work them into next month’s budget. And who knows? That can’t-live-without item you had your eye on just might be on sale by then.

3. Ignore interest rates when paying down debt

Want to put a big dent in your debt this year? You might be tempted to grab debt by the jugular, and attack the biggest interest rate first. But it takes more than maths to win. According to Fidelity, the number one reason people stick to a money resolution is because they’re encouraged by their progress.

That’s where the debt snowball comes in. Here’s how it works: list your debts in order by outstanding balance, and attack the smallest one first. Once you knock it out, roll that cash over to your next debt, working your way up to the biggest of the bunch. You’ll build momentum — and motivation — as you watch your debts disappear and your cash grow!

4. Take advantage of free financial education

It’s no secret that money issues can cause big-time stress. According to the American Psychological Association, 72 per cent of adults worry about money, and 32 per cent say money woes stand between them and a healthy lifestyle.

This stress can distract you on the job, too. It’s hard to get work done when you’re preoccupied with money problems. No wonder almost 90 per cent of employers surveyed by Aon Hewitt had considered implementing a financial wellness programme.

If your company offers this benefit, don’t miss out. It’s a great way to learn how to manage your money, and plan for the future. That’s something everyone can feel good about!

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Published Dec 30, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 29, 2017 at 6:37 pm)

Four money tips for 2018

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