Personal Finance

Improving Your Finances in 2020

Do you want to improve your finances this year? Here are a few things you can do to kick-start your financial journey.

Everyone has their annual traditions to celebrate holidays, birthdays and important milestones. Holidays bring joyful times with family, friends and special gatherings to bring everyone together to celebrate. The downside to these celebrations is the costs along the way. The first step to help improve your finances is to limit your expenditures.

Annually, Americans spend money on gifts, decorations and massive amounts of food to participate each year. Towards the end of the year, Christmas causes consumer spending to spike.

It’s important to track your entire year-end earnings to see how much money you made in 2019. Finding out how much money you have earned will give you a top-line number. You can stay on top of the taxes you are paying based on your income.

Calculating your monthly expenses and earnings

It is vital to track your expenses month-to-month to get a granular picture of your outgoing funds. Getting an accurate detailed view of your expenses will help you learn more about your financial profile. Tracking your expenses will give you a wider scope about how often you spend. You will see which months your expenses fluctuate and be able to track your money better. This will show you where you should be more attentive to your spending habits. Mobile apps and websites can help give you a detailed view of your personal finances in real time. Tracking your money is a proven way to help improve your finances.

Mint by Intuit budgeting tools and mobile app budgeting tools to improve your finances.
Mint Finance App by Intuit

To figure out if you are cashflow positive, it is helpful to track your monthly income and expenses. If you are able to pay your bills on time and feed your family, you are on the right track. The next step is to contribute to your retirement savings regularly each month. This will help you build your wealth. Prioritizing your retirement and savings funds will give you the ability to continue growing your net worth through compounding interest.

If you are not able to contribute to your retirement accounts, you might need to dig deeper into your finances. If you are not able to pay your bills on time, there are a few things you can do to improve your situation. Reducing unnecessary expenses will help you improve your finances.

Auditing your credit cards to improve your finances

Most Americans use credit cards to make purchases these days and rely on the flexibility of the plastic payment methods. The Census Bureau estimates 183 million Americans have credit cards. If you are one of the many, be sure to stay on top of your expenditures. Figuring out what you are spending on with a credit card can help you manage your expenses.

It is smart to audit your credit cards and figure out which cards offer the most beneficial rewards for you. Visa, Mastercard and American Express are some of the biggest credit card companies in the world. All of the major credit card companies compete to extend credit to consumers searching for a new credit card.

Eliminate credit card debt to improve your finances.
Reducing credit card usage and eliminating credit card debt requires hard work and avoiding credit cards altogether.

Comparing your credit cards will help you track how much you spend on a monthly basis. It is recommended to limit the amount of credit cards you use. This will help you avoid hurting your credit score along with prevent identity fraud.

Stay away from store cards

Often, consumers are fooled by store shopper card programs offered by retailers like Kohl’s, Amazon and Walmart. Retailers offer free credit or discounts if you enroll with their store card program. Consumers believe they are benefiting, however, retailers know it will benefit them. Retailers win more consumer spending by offering a small bonus to a new member. If you are enrolled to different store cards, be careful about overspending. Make sure you stay on top of paying your bills on time to avoid absorbing any additional fees. You cannot improve your finances if your card usage gets out of control.

Set your financial goals for 2020

After researching your financial profile, it is good to look ahead and set financial goals for 2020.

If you have a salary-paid job and think you are stuck, you are wrong. There are always new ways to make more money.

Making extra money in 2020

Finding ways to make more money in 2020 is easy with endless opportunities in the connected world.

One of the easiest ways to make more money in 2020 is taking advantage of paid surveys. That’s right. There are some research studies that collect opinions each month and pay for the research they collect. You can search for different research studies or receive surveys directly to your email inbox.

Making extra money with side-gigs and side-hustles

You can make more money in 2020 is through the gig-economy. The economy is rapidly growing into a huge market size and independent workers are cashing in. By leveraging their own talent, gig-workers have been exposed to so many new opportunities. Companies like Uber, Thumbtack, Upwork and Fiverr have opened unlimited amounts of doors for trained individuals for specialized jobs.

IT Solutions, Web developers, computer engineers, digital marketers and internet influencers can earn more money throiugh side-gigs.
IT specialists, web developers, digital marketers and internet influencers can earn more money through side-gig websites like Upwork and Fiverr.

The gig-economy has given people the opportunity to find new jobs through the internet. This has helped eliminate barriers of entry for new people into different industries.

Learning a specialized skill is a great way to improve your finances. Specialized skills include higher pay whereas common jobs tend to be lower paid positions.

Making extra money from home in 2020

There are many different ways to make money from home with high-paying hourly rates to help you improve your finances. Customer service representatives is one of the fastest growing jobs for companies. In addition, can also work for insurance companies who need customer service representatives to answer claims or issues with policies.

Remote jobs, virtual assistants and cloud based jobs are rapidly growing in 2020.
Cloud-based remote jobs are rapidly growing in popularity in 2020.

Make money by selling your junk online to improve your finances

Another thing you can do is sell items online. You can also make good money by selling your junk and old belongings online. Websites like eBay, Poshmark and OfferUp give you the opportunity to sell anything online. Old clothing, sneakers, jackets, televisions, coffee tables and chairs; you can sell almost anything you want.

Selling old clothes on OfferUp, eBay, the RealReal, PoshMark
Re-selling items online is a helpful strategy to make more money in 2020.

There are always active buyers roaming these websites and mobile apps to try and find a bargain. Similar to cars, there is an after-market value that other consumers are willing to pay. Take advantage of the market and list items you own that do not serve a purpose in your day-to-day life.

Making extra money by playing video games

Unlike traditional athletes, e-sport athletes get paid to play video games. E-sports has grown into a massive industry that continues to grow exponentially every year, opening up new doors for gamers all around the world. With the introduction of cross-console gaming, high-speed internet and top of the line video games, e-sports has become a billion dollar industry. As a result of the streaming boom, video gamers make thousands of dollars to compete. Gamers live stream on platforms like Twitch and Youtube which allows players to display their personality for their audience. The best e-sport professionals have started to cash in through sponsorships and competitions with guest appearances in high-demand as well.

Twitch Video Game Platform - how to get started on Twitch
Twitch video game platform enables players to earn money by streaming their video games.

Other side-gigs to make extra money in 2020

There are many other different kind of side-gigs you can find to make extra money in 2020. As we move into the new decade, time is your most valuable asset. If you have extra time on your hands, you can monetize your time in a number of different ways.

If you are an animal lover and enjoy the outdoors, dog walking is a great side-gig for you. The ease of dog walking offers flexible work environments and is great to get exercise while making a little extra income for yourself. If you are unsure where to start with finding dog owners, you can use mobile apps like Wag or search on websites like Craigslist or local Facebook groups in your area.

How to set your budget to improve your finances

After reviewing your spending from 2019 and analyzing how you spend your money, you’ll learn your financial spending habits. Improving your finances starts by budgeting correctly.

Take out cash ahead of time to improve your finances

One of the most common and wasteful expenses people often pay is debt card transaction fees. Merchant ATM fees cost over $2 for each transaction.

It’s beneficial to have cash ahead of time is also helpful for any merchants who list minimum purchase requirements for the pleasure to pay with a credit card. We all know the annoying signs that point out that you’ll to spend more money if you are planning to pay with plastic.

Minimum purchase signs requires credit card users to spend more money on a regular basis

Reduce credit card usage to improve your finances

It is a good idea to reduce usage of your credit cards in January 2020. Eliminating credit cards will teach you how to budget better since you will be relying on cash. Getting comfortable with budgeting with cash will teach you how much money you really need on a daily basis.

Saving more money in 2020

Learning how to set a monthly budget is an easy thing to do with self-discipline and guidelines in place to help you improve your financial situation in 2020. Setting your food and groceries budget is one of the highest priorities for you to account for. This will give you a baseline of how much money you need each month to feed yourself and your family.

Another helpful tool is the automatic bank transfer feature. Scheduling monthly transfers from your paycheck deposited into your checking account to your savings account will force you to save a percentage of your income and start collecting more interest on your money. It is recommended to save anywhere from 10-15% of your income to invest in your retirement and build up your emergency savings fund. There are many different banks that offer 1-2% savings rates on your money for simply holding your money with their bank. Take advantage and collect free money every month through your banks’ savings programs.

Best savings rates from banks in 2020 - highest yield rates from top banks in the world
Recommended Savings Accounts in 2020

Reducing your spending in 2020 to improve your finances

It’s very common to want more money. Everybody desires more money but nobody wants to work for it. Instead of always striving to make more money, another good strategy is to reduce your spending in 2020. Reducing your spending is an easy way to increase your savings. By reducing your spending, you will be holding on to more of your income and allow you to allocate more into savings or pay off any outstanding debt quicker.

People often spend their money freely on dining out, cups of coffee and overpriced designer goods. These are common wallet killers that prevent consumers from saving their money for long-term wealth. By simply grocery shopping and preparing food for yourself, you will drastically start to save money on your food. Coffee often overlooked as an expense because of the low price. However, buying coffee every day can quickly add up if it becomes a daily behavior.

Another easy way to reduce spending is by not spending your money on designer luxury goods. Designer brands charge exorbitant amounts of money for the same garments that any other brand can produce.

Ditch your car to save more money in 2020

Ditching your car is another helpful strategy to save money. Walking or riding your bike to commute into work, rather than rely on a car is good for the environment and your wallet. When you ditch your car and make the commitment to biking to work, you can save hundreds of dollars per year on gas along with maintain the value of the vehicle for a longer period of time. Not only does this help your finances, biking (or walking) to work gives you an opportunity to exercise and achieve personal health benefits as well.

Bikes made for commuters are helpful substitutions for cars.

If you are hailing an Uber, you better hope the roads are not busy. The more traffic on the road, the more expensive an Uber will cost; it’s supply and demand which has created a strong business model for Uber and Lyft. Finding cheap rates is a rarity due to the heavy reliance on the ride-sharing apps even with their promotions ever so often.

Improving your finances in the new year 2020

Between your annual personal finance review, your credit card audit and your new savings accounts setup for the year ahead, you can take many different steps to improve your personal finances in the new year 2020. Although it might only take a few days to get your finances organized through mobile apps and spreadsheets, it is important to remind yourself that personal finance is an ongoing improvement process.

It is recommended to stay aware of your finances each month so you are not caught off guard with any unexpected bills. Paying your bills on time and being mindful of your savings habits will drastically improve the way you think about money. Rather than paying the minimum on your credit card bills, it is better to pay off your credit card bills as quickly as possible to avoid any additional interest rate fees.

Looking ahead towards the beginning of the new year in 2020, stay motivated and focused on your personal finances. Try to avoid spending unnecessary money on things you don’t need and practice saving your money regularly so you can build positive financial habits for yourself. Building financial security takes time, but your future self will thank you later down the road.

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