As we start the New Year, we not only need to think about our physical health, we need to think about our financial health too! January is the perfect time to start building an emergency fund, reevaluate your 401(k) funding, and plan, plan, PLAN! Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am always thinking ahead, planning what I'm going to do, and planning where I will go in the upcoming year.
One of the most important things you can do to set yourself up to be financially savvy is create a budget. Yes, everyone talks about budgeting but what does a budget mean to you and your family? Everyone is different but most of us have one characteristic in common: our search for true happiness.
Chicken Legs and I take our financial health very seriously. We make it a rule to live below our means. We live our life debt free — with the exception of what we own on our house and car. If we can't pay for it, we don't buy it. We save up for indulgences and vacations. We love to travel and think it is important to be able to splurge once in a while. Because we don't splurge all the time, we really appreciate the time we actually do splurge.
Many people wonder how we can afford to travel so much. When we plan to travel, we plan pretty far out (I am a self-professed "Super Planner"). At the beginning of the year we talk about locations we want to visit and how we plan to get there. So, planning is key here to be smart and build your FINANCIAL HEALTH!
For example, let's say that we plan to go to Disney World (not hard to believe). First thought is fly or drive? How much is the plane ticket? How many tanks of gas to get there and back? Once that is determined we take stock: How many reward points do we have for rooms and flights? Do we need to use a specific credit card for the next several months in order to get this room for days with points (read FREE)? You can also be financially smart with your planning and, in this case, your specific credit cards, to build points towards tickets for you and the family. We put everything on our credit card and pay it off at the end of every month. We are spending the money anyway; why not get something FREE from it!
I've found a number of great resources that Chase provides for free. They have great information on their website to help you jumpstart your financial health. Here are 4 Steps to Take Now and Tips to Shop Strategically. The New Year is the perfect time to start planning for the future.
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