It’s January 2020. I don’t know about you guys, but I remember Y2K like it was yesterday. I’m still not exactly sure how we got to 2020 so fast, but alas, here we are. Now that we begin to look forward to everything that is to come in 2020, we all probably start to think about our finances. Our W2s will be here anytime now, so thinking about money is inevitable. You should always be prepared for the beginning of anything, so to get us ready for 2020, here are three money moves we should make ASAP…

Take a look at your credit

With apps and computers just an arm’s length away, it’s pretty easy to stay connected to our finances. If you’ve never paid close attention to your credit score, it’s probably time. When you’re young and don’t own anything, it can be really easy to not care too much about your credit and it’s high or low existence. But if you’re ready to buy a house or you’ve just flat out neglected your finances, keeping the pulse of your credit score can be very important. With cybersecurity such an issue these days, knowing your credit score is a great way to know if you’ve taken a financial hit from any sort of fraud or data breach. If you’re not aware, you’re entitled to a free credit report from each credit reporting agency every year, so don’t let the fear of having to pay for one stop you. If you want to make it super easy, check out a site like Credit Karma. I don’t get paid to mention them, but I’ve been using their app for years and they truly make it super easy to keep an eye on your credit.

Focus on saving

Even if you did a bang-up job of saving money in 2019, I’d be more than willing to bet that you don’t have as much saved as you’d like to right now. Fortunately, it’s the beginning of the year and there are many ways to reach your savings goals by December. One way is to automate your savings. I’m not sure of the last time I heard about someone having to take their paycheck to their local branch and deposit it, so I’m sure you probably have direct deposit. It’s really easy to add another account to your direct deposit, so pick a percentage you’d like to save and redirect those funds to your savings account. Simple. Another way to save is to bulk up your retirement savings. Hopefully your work is awesome and participates in your retirement contributions, and if that contribution is a match of what you’re putting in, be smart, take that free money and max out those contributions. You won’t regret the lower net pay when you’re older and looking at your last few months in the workplace. The last way to save is to go on a spending fast. I don’t know your spending habits, but I guarantee that 100% of your spending doesn’t fall in the “need” category. Take a look at how you’re spending your money and cut out some of the “wants”. Also, be realistic and don’t waste money. If you’re not going to the gym, don’t pay for the membership.

Expect the unexpected

If your emergency fund isn’t in shape, get to work on it. If you’ve got debt that has been lingering for far too long, don’t let it stick around for another year. And if your budget has some holes in it, plug them. You may do a good job of keeping track of your monthly bills, but how about those annual ones that you can sometimes forget about? You know about the monthly fee you pay to your gym, but how about that yearly maintenance fee that can sneak up on you? And if you have to pay hundreds of dollars in vehicle property taxes each year, how often do you forget about paying that until the month it’s due? This year, when those “surprise” bills come up, make a list so you won’t forget about them going forward.

John Pettit, is the Managing Editor for CUInsight.com. John manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. He keeps the credit union ...Web: WWW.CUINSIGHT.COM