Tips for staying financially fit this year
Money in a glass carafe
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Tess Vigeland: So you don't have to feel guilty about not making that budget. But if we're skipping that step, what else might you do to get yourself in money shape?
Well, the blogosphere and Twitterverse had plenty to say about that this week. So we called up some of our favorite blogger-tweeters and asked for their best nuggets.
Steve Schoenly: My name is Steve Schoenly and I write bripblap.com. Everybody, no exceptions, needs to work on developing a side income. The reason people need to do this is because in today's workplace, there are no guarantees about employment and almost everybody can find some kind of freelance work that they're able to do.
My second tip would be concentrate on getting healthy. A lot of people think of getting healthy as a resolution that they need to do because they want to be more fit or they want to look better. But I'd also argue it's a financial improvement that you can make. Even a minor illness can derail you from your job, it can make it more difficult to meet your obligations at work, which could cost you down the line in terms of promotions or even getting on the best projects at work.
Kelly Whalen: My name is Kelly Whalen and I am with wisebread.com. I really recommend that you start off the new year by getting organized. One easy way to do that is to get a free credit report. The website to get your free credit report is annualcreditreport.com. Because you get three free credit reports every year, you can set up a reminder in your calendar or in your phone so that in four months' time, you can come back again and do another free credit report.
The last thing I would recommend is that you sit down and make a list of things that you've been putting off, whether that's going to be setting up a new bank account, or opening that 529 account that you've been putting off. For me personally, it's going to be setting up a business savings account and opening an additional 529 account for my children.
JD Roth: My name is JD Roth and I'm from getrichslowly.org. One thing that I think that a lot of people can do is to do regular reviews of their accounts. Things like savings accounts, credit card accounts, even utility bills or any place else that you pay money. If you can call up your cable company and say, hey, is there any kind of special promotion going on right now that I qualify, or is there anything I can do to get a discount? I think it's also important to take stock of the monthly expenses that you've got right now. I know when I was getting out of debt, I had to take a look at my expenses and say, OK, am I really watching this deluxe cable package all the time? And the answer was no. And so I cut back to basic cable, and that saved me $50 a month. It added up, and it helped me get out of debt. If you can identify little things like that in your life and cut those out, well eventually, you cut enough to pay for something you really do want or value.
David Weliver: My name is David Weliver and I'm the publisher of moneyunder30.com. Some common financial advice we hear is to have a yard sale to make a couple hundred dollars selling things that we no longer need. I think you can really take that a step further by re-evaluating everything you own and go on a selling spree. You can find things that you don't need anymore, don't use anymore, don't really value anymore, and you can used that money to put towards debt, to jumpstart your savings for the year. But you'll also realize the value of possessions that you once spent your hard-earned money for, but now may not value so much.
Julia Scott: My name is Julia Scott and I founded bargainbabe.com. A lot of folks are embracing the 'spend less, save more' mantra. I say go for a no-spend month. I did it for 30 days, paid my rent, I paid my utilities, that kind of stuff, I bought groceries, but anything extra at all was just, I can't do it. And it really frees you up to think about, if you can't spend, you're not worrying about, is this going to break my budget? It's just OK, I have no money -- what can I do for free?
Strange as it may seem, a great way to save money right now is to go on vacation. The values are incredible; airfares, hotels are extremely cheap. Some of the best cities -- Atlanta, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, New York City -- you go on vacation now, you're going to save a bundle over summertime prices.