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21 ways to improve your financial health in 2021

The beginning of a new year is a great time to make financial changes we have long delayed or avoided. Here are 21 ideas that may help you manage your hard-earned money better: 

  1. Take the time to review every penny you make and spend. Make a paper list or an Excel spreadsheet. 
  2. Examine every expenditure; was each purchase essential? Consider your “why” on each purchase. Does the way you spend your money align with what you value? 
  3. Based on the review you just completed, develop a budget. Make it your goal to build your budget based on 80 percent of your net income. This allows you room to save and make charitable donations. 
  4. Start a savings account and have money directly drafted from your checking account into your savings. Use this as an emergency fund, not extra money for everyday expenditures. 
  5. Include a plan to save at least a small amount each payday. 
  6. If you are unable to make a budget on your own, seek assistance. Be sure the person you approach for help is good with their finances. 
  7. Don’t base your spending on someone else’s financial situation. Don’t compare yourself to others and expect to have all the “things” your parents or others have. 
  8. To prevent impulse buying, implement the 24-hour rule. Wait 24 hours before making a purchase on non-essential items. 
  9. Discontinue duplicate services like Netflix and Hulu. Do you really need every channel cable TV has to offer? 
  10. Don’t shop out of boredom. Avoid going to the store or browsing Amazon or other shopping sites for entertainment. 
  11. Pay your bills on time. Late fees add up quickly. 
  12. Check with your bank to see if there’s a checking account without monthly fees. 
  13. Review all your insurance policies with your agent; home, auto, umbrella, health and life. You will be surprised by the savings you can realize with simple changes. 
  14. Review the income tax deducted from your paycheck. If you expect a large refund every year, you are having too much money withheld. When you received a large tax refund, it means the government has held your money for a year with no interest earned. Use this money for your savings. 
  15. Automate bill paying; set things up to directly draft from your checking account. 
  16. Meal plan before you grocery shop; buy based on your grocery list. Plan for leftovers so you can take your lunch and avoid the cost of eating out. 
  17. Cell phone plans change often, so ask your carrier if they have another plan that may cost you less. Check with other carriers for a better deal. 
  18. If you have credit card debt, call your credit card company and ask for a lower interest rate. If you pay your bill on time, they often will lower your rate. 
  19. Stop or cut back on alcohol or tobacco consumption. 
  20. Do you have a storage unit? If so, do you really need it? 
  21. Consider using an online or consignment platform to purchase or sell clothes you aren’t wearing. 

I hope these ideas spur you to think creatively about your spending and set you on the path to a brighter financial future in 2021.


Kathy Rogers is the vice president of Marston Rogers Group, a life planner and business consultant. Reach her at (228) 206-5902 or Kathy@mrg.life. 

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