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Financial Resolutions for the New Year: Going Beyond the Basics

Every year, we hear about basic financial resolutions for the new year from just about every corner: create a budget, cut out unnecessary expenses, contribute more to your savings account, and so on.

This year, however, consider catching up on those financial projects that have been on the back burner. Sometimes, digging deeper and getting to the root of a problem may help you resolve an issue or improve a situation — possibly leading to a domino effect of positive results.

What exactly do we mean? Consider these examples:

1. Take the time to truly understand your retirement investments.

Many of us contribute to 401k accounts, Roth IRAs, and other retirement accounts without truly understanding the intricacies of the stock market. As one of your financial resolutions for the new year, consider making an appointment with a financial advisor who can help you fully understand where your money is going and how you may be able to improve your bottom line.

This is especially important this year, as 2021 may bring hurdles of financial challenges due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysts believe that many companies that were hanging on in 2020 may end up filing for bankruptcy in 2021, leading to possible layoffs. As a result, employees should protect their current and future income as much as possible, and talking to a skilled, trustworthy financial advisor is an important step in doing so.

2. Refinance a car loan or home loan.

Take some time this year to see if applicable car loan or home loan rates have changed. Depending on a variety of factors, refinancing a car loan or home loan may help you save money in the long run. Many of us buy a car or house and become accustomed to the routine of simply paying the bill every month, but slow down and take time to analyze these expenses. You may be surprised at what you uncover.

3. Look for competitive pricing for everyday services.

You receive your electricity bill, pay it, and don’t look back. You receive your insurance bill, pay it, and don’t look back. You pay your cable bill and simply keep staring at the tube. You may even get an invoice from your doctor’s office that you don’t question.

There’s a strong possibility that a competitor may offer you a better deal on such services. Keep your eyes open for discounts for household living essentials like heating and cooling, as well as for services like haircuts and lawn maintenance.

4. Appraise the value of items in your home.

Here’s your chance to merge financial resolutions for the new year with early spring cleaning. Do you have collectibles or antiques in your home that you have been saving for years because you believed they might be valuable someday? Well, today is someday.

Have these items professionally appraised and sell them if the time is right. If they’re not of value, donate them or toss them.

5. Buy a bike.

Buy yourself and your family members a bike this year! As Georgia residents, we have the benefit of being able to ride our bikes or walk for about 75 percent of the year.

Sure, bicycles can cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000, but the average adult spends about $250 per month on gasoline. So hypothetically, if you didn’t spend money on gasoline at all for about two months, you may pay off the entire cost of a decent $500 bike.

If your lengthy commute to work doesn’t allow you to take advantage of this option, you could still hop on a bike to ride to the grocery store or complete other errands after work.  Even that may save you some money over time.

Again, investing in a bicycle may be especially beneficial this year while many of us are still working from home and do not need to drive to and from work every day.

These are only some examples of creative financial resolutions for the new year. You can probably look around your home and think of many more.

But don’t forget about the basics, of course, like opening savings accounts, using smart apps for money management, and avoiding unnecessary expenses. If you’re ready to start saving, talk with one of our credit union associates today. For more information, visit www.gaheritagefcu.org or contact us at (912) 236-4400 during normal business hours.

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