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3 Money Tips to Flex Your Financial Muscle in 2024

Do your New Year’s Resolutions include financial goals? Do you want to strengthen your relationship with money in 2024?

As we all know, money plays a part in almost everything in life. Yet, we often overlook, avoid, or quickly abandon money goals. Facing money fears, worries, and frustrations head on works. Denying or burying your head in the sand does not work. That being said, how do you start creating good money habits in 2024 to get you on the path to Financial Wellness, and ultimately, Financial Freedom?

You flex your financial muscle by creating and honing good money habits and strategies that move you toward your money goals.

Three Essential Money Tips

Let’s start with three money tips that are essential to building a solid financial house.

Tip #1 Create and Build an Emergency Fund

Emergency Fund monies are used to pay for emergencies or unexpected necessary expenses, such as medical expenses, car repairs, home repairs, or loss of income. The first goal is $1,000. The second goal is 3 months of living expenses, and the third goal is 6 months of living expenses.

Having an emergency fund, even a small one in the beginning, is flexing your financial muscle. An emergency fund helps you stay out of debt and it is a critical part of creating financial security. Pay yourself first by creating and building your emergency fund. 

Tip #2 Pay Off Your Debt, Especially Your Credit Card Debt

The interest rates on any unpaid credit card balances can be astronomical and interest is often compounded daily.

Do not be late on debt payments. On-time payments are the biggest factor affecting your credit score- accounting for 35% of your credit score calculation. When you make a payment over 30 days late, your credit score can subsequently drop by as much as 100 points! A high credit score is your financial golden ticket, therefore, you must protect it.

If you have multiple credit cards with unpaid balances, there are various ways to address the debt. Here are two:

Method 1
  • A. You pay as much as possible each month on the card with the highest interest rate, while paying the monthly minimum payment on your other credit cards.
  • B. Once you pay the highest interest rate card in full, you then take the monthly amount you were paying on that card and add it to your card payment with the next highest interest rate, while paying the monthly minimum payment on your other cards.
  • C. Continue this strategy until all credit cards are paid in full.
Method 2
  • A. You use the same methodology as above, but you pay off your smallest credit card balance first, instead of the highest interest rate card.

Sometimes, knocking off one debt quickly has a more positive effect on your well-being and gets you motivated to tackle the larger debt.

As you are paying off your credit cards- do not continue to charge and create more unpaid balances. Additionally, you can automate your credit card payments but make certain there is money in your account to cover the payments. Most importantly, remember it is imperative that you make your payments on time.

An Additional Tip:

Make it work for you. Accordingly, if your payment due dates do not coincide with when you get paid, call your credit card company and ask for the payment due dates to be changed.

Tip #3 Invest

It does not matter how much money you earn, you can begin investing. For example, I began investing when I was 23 years old and my salary was approximately $21,000. I increased my investment amount each time I got a raise. Yet, another key to investing is to automate it. I suggest having the investment money taken directly out of your paycheck if possible or your bank account if you are an entrepreneur. It is too easy to find an excuse not to invest if you are not automating it.

A Golden Rule: If your employer offers a 401K, or other similar retirement investment plan, and offers a match- contribute at least the match amount. The employer match is free money, which will grow exponentially over time, and create more free money!

The younger you can start investing the better, time works on your side with compound interest. Use the MoneyChimp compound interest calculator below to see how much your money can grow depending on the amount invested, the frequency of the investment, the interest rate, and time.

I retired at 50, and my 50-year-old self said a big thank you to my 23-year-old self! Happy New Year! Flex your financial muscle, put these 3 Money Tips into practice, and set yourself up for financial success!

With gratitude,

Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra

Susan Howell
Written by: Susan Howell, The MoneyMaestra.

Even though I grew up without money, I was able to retire at 50 based on my financial practices. I worked for the Federal Government for 26 years, with 6 of those years at the IRS and 20 at the Department of Justice, which included investigating many money-related cases.

I created MoneyMaestra to share what I know and to help people get on the path to Financial Freedom.

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