One Month into 2015…How Are Your New Year’s Resolutions Doing?
February 1st came and went yesterday, which means several things:
1. The Super Bowl happened, and Tom Brady and the Patriots were finally victorious for the first time in over a decade.
2. The Academy Awards are soon taking place, and Neil Patrick Harris is hosting again (which means it should actually be pretty awesome).
3. It’s been one full month since we ushered in 2015, and also, one full month that you’ve – hopefully – been keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions.
Your Most Important New Year’s Resolution
According to TIME Magazine, one of the top ten “commonly broken” New Year’s Resolutions, alongside quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthier, being less stressed, traveling to new places, spending more time with family, drinking less, and volunteering, is “getting out of debt and saving money.” And while all the other resolutions are also of extreme importance, this last one is likely the most significant for you to actually execute, especially if you’ve found yourself with poor credit, or no credit at all.
After all, how will you be able to hit up the gym in order to lose weight if you don’t have any money to pay for it? How will you afford the time to volunteer if you always have to work to keep up with your extravagant lifestyle? And don’t get us started on travelling – that resolution is an impossible one to get started on if your savings account is in the red.
Of course, the ‘be less stressed’ resolution also won’t apply if you aren’t able to manage your debt, or your budget. Studies have shown that financial troubles increase your probability of stress, anxiety and depression. It also isn’t exactly great for marital woes, either.
According to Professor David Richards, a mental health expert at the University of Exeter, if you’ve found yourself stressed from money woes, it doesn’t mean your life is over. Keep up with your social life (though definitely trade in restaurants and bars for coffee shops and home visits), keep your resume updated, and keep paying the bills as much as you can. If you’re unemployed, and actively looking for a job, take some time to exercise, go for a jog, do a few push-ups. This will help keep you motivated, and feeling inspired. Also, make sure not to turn to alcohol every time stress rears its ugly head. It will only add to your problems.
Make 2015 the Year You Improve Your Credit Score
If you, however, have actually been taking your “saving money/improve my credit score” resolution seriously – say you’ve taken advantage of the lowest gas prices we’ve seen in years by putting that extra $100 a month in savings towards paying off your debt – then you can congratulate yourself for a good job well done in the month of January. Make sure you continue to apply yourself in February by paying your bills on time, and saving money wherever you can.
At the same time, there are some purchases that are simply unavoidable, like buying a car to get you to, and from work. In fact, this could even help in your path of building your credit score, by taking an auto loan. Say you were to take a loan with Auto Loan Solutions, Ontario’s largest supplier of auto loans, specializing in providing people with poor credit an affordable way to purchasing a vehicle. By paying off your loan responsibly, and on time, it shows that you can be trusted to lenders, and improves your credit rating.
If you’re late to this resolution, but have decided to implement it to your list, you can start today by developing some better credit habits in 2015:
1. ALWAYS pay your bills on time – set up automatic payments when available!
2. Develop a great budgeting plan that factors in all your monthly expenses. Make sure to leave room for money to put towards a savings account, if you can. If you’re paying back debt, though, make sure to finish that first.
3. Use Your Credit Cards but only as a responsible adult! Make sure that you’ll be able to pay off the card at the end of each month every time you use it. This shows creditors that you’re not afraid of spending, but that you’re also trustworthy and dependable. To get you started, check out the Huffington Post’s “Best Credit Cards for Your New Year’s Resolution.”
4. Find the best interest rates available to you. You may be eligible for refinancing your auto loan if you’ve already been working on reestablishing your credit score, especially now when interest rates are low. Inquire!
This year, why not keep up the one resolution that legitimately strengthens your quality of life, not to mention makes all your other resolutions obtainable and affordable. Let’s make 2015 the year of clean living, eating right, no stress, no debt, and good credit. If you do, we bet it’ll be a year you’ll always remember.