Financial Planning for the New Year

Hi y'all,

Since it's the beginning of the year, it's time to get finances in order! I have been really thinking about my financial goals. They have changed slightly, and that's okay!
Now, please keep in mind, I am no financial expert by any means.



My LONG long term goal is to buy a house. This was my original goal for this year; however, with interest rates only becoming higher, now is not the best time. However, I can keep saving my money and working toward this goal because the interest rates won't stay this high (or even higher) for long.  In fact, if you look at patterns, major election years (typically Presidential elections, the interest rates drop because of uncertainty in the market).

My shorter long term goal is to get a puppy, an apartment, and pay for my master's degree. I am so proud to say that I have yet to take a loan out for school and I would love to keep that going! I currently do live at home while I save some money (I put all my money into school while I was working on my teaching license). However, I put aside a little from each paycheck to be able to afford an apartment in the near future. This is the same for the puppy. If you know me, I've been talking about a puppy since before I graduated college. This is THE goal of the year (besides getting admitted to grad school-fingers crossed). However, unlike with grad school, I completely control getting a puppy.

How am I accomplishing these goals?

First, I semi-dumped the brick and mortar bank. I still have a savings account and credit cards with one; but I basically use it for transactions that I need to do over the counter, like depositing cash. I also deposit any checks using mobile banking through this bank so that I am only making one transfer to my online bank. An online bank offers higher interest rates because they are not funding buildings and staff like a brick and mortar bank. My brother switched to it first, and I did while I was student teaching. Now, I'm so thankful! I earn so much in interest every month which is such a nice bonus. I also opened a credit card and checking account with my online bank.

Paying attention to where my money goes. This is by far one of the hardest things for me. Especially since I use a credit card for 99% of my purchases. However, I have recently started using the "wait a few days" rule. If you're still thinking about the item 48 hours later (or 2 days), pull the trigger.

Use Ebates, Swagbucks, Ibotta, etc. for extra savings. I love using Ebates and Swagbucks. I find Ibotta is harder for me to use because I don't always buy the items that they are offering deals on. However, Ebates and Swagbucks are hands down two of my favorite things on the internet. I get savings by doing simple things. Swagbucks by taking surveys and watching videos. I can also earn by shopping, but I always choose the higher percentage cash back between Swagbucks and Ebates.
The one downfall to Ebates is that they only pay quarterly (but it does mean you get more in a chunk).

I don't do invenstments through apps; however,  I do own stock and have a 401 K hybrid plan through my school system.

Financially planning/budgeting is also key. I have to budget, and right now the largest part of my budget every month is gas (I typically have to fill up once a week).

How are you financially planning for 2019?

xx,
Lindsey

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