New Year’s Resolution: Getting your finances in order

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Getting your finances in orderIt is a week into the new year, and hopefully all of those resolutions and goals you made are still going strong. One of the areas that I am getting in order is the area of my finances.

Online Bill Pay

I really love paying my bills online, and I am fortunate that my bank does not charge me for this service (as long as I pay at least 3 bills online every month). It is fast, easy, and I know when my payments are posted. I can also schedule my payments to post automatically. And, I am saving 44¢ per bill by not using a stamp and envelope!

Paying down debt

Every year, I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover just to brush up and become a little financially savvy.

One of the items I invested in last September was his Personal Finance software. I absolutely love it, and totally recommend it. It offers an invaluable financial system that is very easy to use. {At this time, it is not compatible with Windows 7. I spoke to a CSR at Dave Ramsey yesterday, and the Windows 7 patch will be available in 2-3 weeks.}

My husband and I are also using the Debt Snowball to pay down the debt we accumulated in our early years of marriage.

Pay with cash

Our household no longer uses credit cards. We are paying with cash, our debit card, or check. With any of these methods, it is impossible to spend money we do not have.

By using cash, we can only spend what we have with us. In using the debit card, if the money is not available in our account, the transaction will not be processed.

The only way we could possibly spend money we don’t have is that we do have overdraft protection. With our bank’s overdraft protection, they will still process our payment, BUT charge us a $25 penalty! So, really, using that method is not a good idea!

Finding ways to make more money

  • Have a garage sale. Go through your house and get rid of any items you are no longer using, or no longer need. This is a fast, although not necessarily easy, way to make some extra cash.
  • Start a savings account. This will be for emergencies only, and allows you to have money at the ready for an unexpected issue.
  • Cancel bills for unnecessary items. For example, if you can watch your favorite shows on Hulu, canceling cable or satellite is a smart move. If you rarely use your home phone, get rid of it.
  • Cook from home. Do you eat out a lot? Consider taking your lunch to work for a week, or cooking supper instead of ordering in. See what a dent that will make in your cash flow.
  • Cut down on unnecessary purchases. Could you use a washable towel instead of a paper towel?
  • Have a blog? Consider monetizing. Deal Seeking Mom has great information on her forums, and ProBlogger has several posts that discuss making money blogging. You can also check out #SavvyBlogging on Twitter, for great blogging tips.

Photo credit: Darrren Hester

What are your financial goals this year? What are your savvy ways for making extra money?


  1. Rachel says

    With the weather the way it is, a garage sale is impractical in my neighborhood until about April. Other ways to sell your stuff is through CraigsList, eBay, or Amazon. Some areas also have Thrifty Nickle, a local paper in which you can put ads for your stuff for sale. I see everything from cars to wedding dresses (basically every item under the sun) advertised in it.

    College students can sell their used textbooks to other students for a little more than the bookstore will give you to ‘buy back’ books, and still save the other student money by charging them less than the bookstore would.

    You could also sell your time and talent. I know a gal who helps out a retiree a few times a week by running her errands (she can’t drive), helping with the shopping, and some light cleaning (dishes, dusting, and the like) for a nice chunk of change. You could make a bunch of whatever craft you do and sell at a local craft show. Or how about holding a bake sale?

  2. says

    This is a fantastic post! Using cash in envelopes is a wonderful way to only spend what you have – this was a BIG part of our financial planning when we were first married! Keep up the great work I know you will accomplish your goals!!

    Have you considered meal planning? I have noticed I am saving a lot more on groceries since I started monthly meal planning! I also started using coupons last month – I saved 25 dollars! Keeping all the receipts and tallying them up has been a real encouragement! :)

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