Getting in shape for summer is a popular springtime topic. But have you thought about giving your wallet a swimsuit workout as well? After all, your financial health is just as important.
Consider a series of “exercises” that will help you understand your financial situation, cut back on expenses, kick unhealthy financial habits, and build your financial fitness.
Exercise 1: The weigh-in
Similar to how a personal trainer would want to evaluate your health status before you begin a new workout program, the same can be said for your finances. You first need to know where your weaknesses and strengths lie, so you’ll know which areas to tackle first.
Exercise 2: Getting trim
Now that you’ve organized and evaluated your finances, the Federal Trade Commission has a budget worksheet, flex (or create) your budget with this tool. Consider making a few trims. As The Budget Diet blog points out, trimming $13 a day adds up to $400 a month. Here are some “extras” to consider cutting back on or eliminating in your budget:
Exercise 3: Habit hacking
Smoking: You knew this was coming. If you still smoke, there’s a financial reason to quit. The American Cancer Society says for every $6 you spend on a pack, you’re piling up another $35 in eventual health-related costs. Ouch. Think about potentially lower life insurance rates and saving paid time off for a vacation day, instead of another chest cold. You can do this, and there’s help out there (free, of course).
Exercise 4: Biggest gainer
The key to making any resolution last is to check your progress. Look at your budget and spending on a monthly basis to make sure you’re staying on course. Check for other ways to cut costs along the way. You may start to like what you see. You can shop around for a better deal on car insurance and use some of your new monthly savings to pay off high-interest credit card debt. You may want to build an emergency fund so you won’t have to borrow when the unexpected hits.
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