A New Year Means It’s Time For North Dakotans To Refresh Finances
January marks “Financial Wellness Month” and as we begin 2023, it’s important to take this month to prepare your finances for the year ahead.
According to a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com (TopCashback), the USA’s most generous cash back site, 39% of Americans feel less financially confident heading into 2023 compared 2022.
When asked why they feel less financially confident, here were the top four reasons:
- Inflation (76%)
- Economic uncertainty (59%)
- Changes in income/financial obligations (46%)
- More debt to pay off (34%)
The survey polled a cross-section of 1,909 adults, aged 18 and over.
To get your finances in order for the new year, here are three ways to help strengthen your current financial situation from Rebecca Gramuglia (published with permission) consumer expert at TopCashback.
- Maintain a budget. Budgeting is key to making sure that you have enough money to cover current expenses as well as future ones. By understanding how much you currently spend compared to your current income and what your goals are, you can identify areas that you need to either contribute more or less to. For example, you may find that you are spending more on subscription services that you don’t use. In this case, you can cancel some of the accounts and put that money towards a different goal.
- Pro-tip: Adopting a specific budget formula, like the ‘50/30/20’ rule, helps keep you on track financially. With this particular budgeting technique, you’ll want to spend 50% of your after-tax income on necessities (i.e. rent, utilities, food, etc.), 30% on personal expenses (i.e. dining out, activities, etc.) and 20% on financial obligations (i.e. debt repayment, savings, etc.). There are various other budgeting formulas out there, so find what works best for you and try to stick with it.
- Keep your credit in check. Paying your bills on time (even if you can only pay the minimum) and regularly reviewing your credit report are important in making sure all of your hard work is paying off. You can request a free copy of your credit report from one of the nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian and Transunion). Compare your own records to the reports and be sure to verify that all the info listed is accurate. If something is off or missing, file a written report of the inaccuracy to a credit reporting company as well as the initial information provider.
- Pro-tip: Try to get in the habit of paying off your credit card in full each month, if you can. Not only will this save you the stress of racking up debt, but it will also help you avoid additional interest on the total balance due.
- Build your savings. The first step to building your savings is to save money wherever possible. No matter where you’re shopping, always look for relevant coupons and discounts before buying. And if you shop online, use a cash back site, like TopCashback, which guarantees the highest percentage of your money back on qualifying purchases from 7,000 retailers nationwide. You can put the money you saved into a savings account so it can start accruing interest.
- Pro-tip: Use a rewarding credit card whenever you shop to earn cash back, points or miles on your purchases — depending on your card’s program. Once the billing period ends, see if you can apply those rewards as a statement credit. Take the amount you saved and transfer it into your savings account to keep funding your goals.
Good luck with all your financial goals for 2023!
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