As we get settled into the new year, Nicole Lapin, former CNN/CNBC anchor and editor-in-chief of Recessionista.com, put together some tips to beef up your budget:
1. Cut the clutter.
Hang on to the important stuff, especially your tax info. Shred unnecessary financial documents, and file away the rest.
2. Give your credit score a boost.
Expecting a tax refund this year? Lapin suggests using it to pay outstanding bills.
3. Protect yourself.
You shouldn't be using the same password for all of your online banking, email, and other personal accounts.
4. Give your budget some love.
When was the last time you had an honest, face-to-face, sit-down conversation with your budget? Now is the time to make an A, B and C list of expenditures - the A's are must-haves, like rent and groceries, B's are healthy bonuses like a gym membership, and C's are "wants," like those weekly manicures.
5. Set parameters.
Set a tight limit (say, 5%-10% of your monthly paycheck) for "fun money." When you run out, guess what? Show's over 'til next month.
6. Squirrel it away.
Your 20s and early 30s are your peak saving years, laying the foundation for those "big" purchases down the road (a car, a house, a family, etc.). However modest your paycheck might seem, develop a system to stash some of it every month.