I have teamed up with COUNTRY Financial for this blog post. As always, thoughts and stories are my own.
New Year New You, right? Unless you are living under a rock you are probably inundated with messages from friends, family and all of social media proclaiming resolution after resolution for the New Year. I actually love this time of year so much because of this reason alone. Peoples motivation skyrockets, their dreams and hopes come alive, and optimism is at an all-time high.
Year after year the top resolutions don’t change much. And according to Statista, 53% of Americans want to save more money in 2018. This is probably a direct reflection of their holiday spending and having a bit of buyers remorse, right? I like 53% of the rest of the US want to save some extra money to be able to increase my investments in my families future with retirement and college savings. If you want to join in on this challenge I’ve shared some ways we can meet and exceed our goals.
Get rid of excess.
Everytime hubs and I sit down to have budget talks we are amazed at how much we spend on eating out and food costs in general. We aren’t foodies and cooking filets at home. These are typically food costs associated with being lazy and not wanting to cook so running out last minute to the local neighborhood pub to grab something to eat. So instantly that was something we decided we needed to work on. I’m totally fine with spending money on good food. Date night in the city, I’m all in. It’s more the everyday running around town, grabbing a coffee, snack, then dinner out every day that adds up and doesn’t add joy to my life so it needs to go.
Another thing we have vowed to do (it has not been tested yet because the kids are still content from Christmas) but literally every time I go to Target I bribe my kids and tell them that if they are good and we get through quick they can get…. Whatever the hot blind bag is at the time. It’s $3-$5 each. Saves my sanity. But you know what, my kids are good kids. And will probably make it through without the bribery. And we all know how often Target is on our agenda during a week so this alone will probably pay for college this year.
Lower Your Bills
Once you have been able to cut out all the things that you do not need and do not actually add value to your life it is time to look at the monthly recurring bills and see what you can do to lessen them. Compare services and price shop. You would be amazed at the savings that can accrue.
We went through our recurring bills and see what we have charged that we actually don’t utilize. We had several children’s apps that they no longer use, being charged monthly. Music services we didn’t use as often and ended up with at least $50 extra each month.
Now that you have been all this extra money laying around, what are we going to do with it? Well obviously invest. I am a huge proponent of investing in your marriage, your friendships, your house, your job, your company so why not your family’s future. As a mom of two young kids my extra savings is going to college savings accounts and retirement. Thankfully, COUNTRY Financial makes this super easy with their 529 plan.
If you have kids and haven’t started a college savings account for them already, this is a great way to get a head start on the college planning process. Start a 529 savings plan for your kids and allow the money to grow tax-free for their education. You can check both your states plan as well as other states plans to decide which is best for your family.
Also fun fact, there was a recent tax overhaul and it expanded the benefits for 529 plan. 529 plan assets can now be used for up to $10,000 a year, per student, for private-school tuition for K-12. So if you aren’t a huge planner and do not want to think about college savings, but know private-school is in your future you need this in your life.
Increase your 401k contributions, especially if your company matches. This is basically wasting money if you aren’t taking full advantage of what they have to offer.
And after you have done all that and still have some left over. Go take a trip. Invest in your family and yourself with memories and experiences.
I can promise you if you follow all of these. 2018 will be so much richer than past years. #TakeSimpleSteps