There are only 11 days left in 2018. Every New Year brings opportunities to improve your life — to wave goodbye to old habits and say hello to positive changes. That includes your finances. As a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer, I’d like to challenge you to make some financial resolutions for 2019. You might be surprised by how much they can change your life for the better. Here are ideas to get you started.

Monitor your credit score.

Your credit score is very important. Without good credit, life costs much, much more, from larger deposits just to set up utilities in a new home, to higher interest rates when you’re ready to become a property owner. At Darrell Castle & Associates, we understand the importance of good credit. We even offer our clients a free course to help get to an A rating.

Checking your credit regularly is important for many reasons, but one of the biggest ones is that you can’t fix problems until you know they exist. And of course, the sooner you pinpoint a problem, the easier it is to resolve.

Many credit card companies have made it simple for consumers to view their scores simply by signing into their online accounts. But you may want to take those scores with a grain of salt. The main credit agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, but banks often use a FICO score, which differs slightly. It’s important to be mindful that discrepancies may exist.

One last reason why it pays to regularly monitor your score: 1 in 4 consumers find an error in their credit history that could have impacted their score.

Try some “spending exercises.”

Nobody gets back in shape without hitting the gym. Similarly, financial exercises are an important part of your overall financial fitness.

Unsure where to start? Forbes suggests the following:

  • No-spend days: Nothing makes you realize just how much those little expenses are adding up than avoiding dipping into your wallet entirely. Make a meal at home, using only what you have on hand. Avoid buying anything online. That way, you’ll be saving money without even thinking about. Pro tip: Try 2-3 no-spend days per week.
  • Cash-only days: Think of this as one degree removed from no-spend days. These days force you to spend only a specific amount. Leave your wallet at home and bring only that $20 bill to hold yourself accountable.
  • Monthly spending bans: When you track all your expenses — which is another good resolution to add to your list — you’ll probably start to spot some problem areas: too many expensive meals at restaurants, or too much ordering from Amazon. Create a one-month ban on those problem areas to see how much you can save.

Just as you’d integrate yoga or a morning run into your weekly routine, schedule these exercises on a regular basis.

Pay off debt.

Paying down debt can be a big hurdle, but it’s one best tackled head-on. A good place to start is figuring out the total debt you’re holding and what the various interest rates are. There are different strategies, like paying off your small debts first or prioritizing higher interest rates.

Holding debt of any kind is an indication that you may be spending above your means, and you should know that bankruptcy is actually a simple and viable solution. You can discharge credit card debts and some types of debt in a Chapter 7, or make those payments more manageable in a Chapter 13. Simply making those debts easier to manage can you help get up to date with other finances.

Talk to a Memphis bankruptcy lawyer

Our Memphis bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation, no strings attached. We’ve helped thousands of people get out of debt. And we’ll offer every resource we can to help you do the same.

If you’re ready to start 2019 off on a solid foot, contact me today. We look forward to speaking with you.