Friday, January 17, 2014

Fiscal Fitness in 2014

A new year means a fresh start, a time to turn the page.  While you're looking to make improvements or changes, why not consider your finances, especially if you are beginning the process of buying a home in the Asheville area. 

via Movement Mortgage

Make 2014 the year you get your personal finances organized and under control. Just by paying closer attention to your money flow, you can increase your savings, improve your investments and keep your spending within your means.

Track it. If you know where your dollars are going, you can control them. Using one of the many financial software programs available makes good sense when you're trying to see how you spend and track your habits. Many programs will show you the percentage of your cash that goes into different categories, such as home maintenance, entertainment, and groceries. Some banks also offer this service in your monthly statement or online. Be sure to hold on to receipts to match them against transactions on your credit cards, and balance your checkbook regularly. See where you can cut back and resolve to do so!

Review investments and accounts. If you have investment accounts, you can often speak to an advisor at no cost. But even better, take that extra step and hire a financial advisor. A professional can really help you drill down on how to maximize your savings, prepare for retirement, and really make your money work for you.

Take a look at your savings and checking accounts. Do you pay a monthly fee? What can you do to eliminate that? IF you can save money every month just by keeping an extra $100 or so sitting in your savings account, or by signing up for direct deposit, go for it.

Don't forget your insurance accounts. Call your insurers to see if you're eligible for any discounts as a loyal customer, or for having had no accidents in the past year. Get quotes from competitors to see if you can do better. Review your deductibles or consider changing your payment schedule — you may be able to save a little by paying biannually rather than monthly.

How about a refinance of your home or auto loan? Interest rates are amazingly low these days. You could potentially save hundreds of dollars each month!

Plan for the future. It's never too soon to open a retirement account or pay into a 401(k). The earlier you start, the more you'll have when it's time to stop working. If your company matches your 401(k) and you're not taking advantage of that, you're actually throwing free money away! In addition, you should prepare your will. No matter what your age, setting your affairs in order can bring great peace of mind.

Cut down and consolidate. There are many ways to do this! Physically de-clutter by having a yard sale or hawking your items on eBay or craigslist. You will earn a little cash and clear out the stuff you just don't need anymore. Try to move your bank accounts to one establishment, especially if you have several savings or checking accounts scattered at many, so you don't lose track of money. And finally, consider donating your time this year, instead of dollars. You can still get a write-off (consult the professional we mention above to learn more) but you'll also get added satisfaction from really seeing how you can make a difference.

Your physical health is critical to your overall well-being; it's important to recognize that your fiscal health is just as important. Be sure you're setting aside time regularly to track your bills, review your statements and keep an eye on your cash. You'll have an easier time developing and sticking to a budget, and the reduction in stress can only contribute to a fantastic 2014!

Movement Mortgage, LLC is an Equal Housing Lender. NMLS # 39179 | 877-314-1499. Movement Mortgage, LLC is licensed by the “State of North Carolina Commissioner of Banks” Lic # L-142670. Interest rates and products are subject to change without notice and may or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock-in. Borrowers must qualify at closing for all benefits. “Movement Mortgage” is a registered trademark of the Movement Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company.


Ready to begin the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage?  Click here to talk to a lender, and call us when you are ready to begin the home buying process.

The Puffer Team, Keller Williams Professionals, 828-771-2300,

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