The start of a new year symbolizes a new beginning. It’s an opportunity to kick bad habits and establish good ones. Quit smoking. Lose weight. Save money. Find a new job. Buy a house.
But did you know that only 8 percent of Americans actually keep their New Year’s resolutions? Most people set overly ambitious goals—or too many of them—and simply lose interest. Small, but meaningful lifestyle changes are more likely to succeed over the long haul.
If your resolution is to lose weight or get into better shape for, example, focus on behavior rather than a numerical goal. You could resolve to walk for 30 minutes every other day. Or replace your normal lunch with a salad a few times a week.
Physical and Fiscal Fitness
If saving money is at the top of your 2018 “to-do” list, sign up for an employer or bank-sponsored savings plan that deducts the same amount from your account every two weeks. It’s customizable and automatic, so you won’t forget to make deposits or be tempted to blow the money on coffee drinks.
Loftier goals, such as buying a new house or starting a business, require more planning. But the same principles apply. Divide up the process into a series of small, manageable tasks. As each one is accomplished, you’ll move closer to fulfilling your dream and build confidence along the way.
Start by creating a monthly budget. Sounds basic, but you build savings by spending less than you earn. So, any financial goals begin and end with your monthly family budget. Here are 9 more simple steps from USA Today to help you build up some serious savings: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/09/14/home-mortgage-save-budget/15466845/
One thing’s for sure as you approach these life-changing goals: Having bad credit can cost you big time in the terms of a loan. “Lenders look for a minimum credit score of around 580-600 to qualify,” says Kyle Plunkett, UMH Loan Originator. “But it’s also something you can plan for.”
5 Quick Tips to Improve Your Credit Score
Here are some suggestions for improving your credit score in about a year:
- Pay your outstanding bills on time, every month, whether it’s your car payment, rent or utility bill.
- Use only a fraction of the credit available to you. VantageScore recommends keeping outstanding charges at or below 30 percent of your available credit limit.
- Pay down your existing outstanding debt.
- Don’t open any new credit accounts while you’re trying to improve your credit score.
- Check your credit report (score) at least once a year to know where you stand. Request your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.