Want to get your financial life in shape in 2019? Make these tips part of your routine.
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The start of a new year is a great time to trim the fat. And no, I'm not talking about the few extra pounds you picked up from all those holiday cookies. While getting in physical shape is important, you can benefit from a few exercises in another area of your life, too: your finances.
If you want to get your money life in shape and trim the financial fat, here are three key exercises to do in 2019.
1. Crunch your numbers
Just as ab crunches will tighten your tummy muscles, crunching your numbers can help you tighten your budget and spending. This starts with adding up what you've actually been spending over the past few months.
By figuring out exactly where your money is going, you get an idea of whether you're sticking to your budget -- and whether your budget is working for you. If you don't have a budget already, crunching your numbers allows you to make a realistic one that allocates an appropriate amount of spending to needs, wants, and financial goals.
You'll be able to easily see where you're overspending when you add up the numbers on different categories of spending -- and you can set limits for yourself in areas where you're wasting your hard-earned cash.
By crunching your numbers to make a budget that tightens spending on frivolous expenses, you'll end up in a much stronger financial position. And that's even better than six-pack abs.
2. Push up your savings
Push-ups make your upper body and core stronger, while pushing up your savings efforts will bulk up your bank account and strengthen your financial stability.
Your savings are at the core of your financial health, because the amount you've saved impacts whether you can handle emergencies without going into debt -- and whether you can make big purchases or survive in retirement.
In 2019, commit to contributing more income to your savings than you did last year. This is a key part of trimming financial fat, because the more you commit to saving, the less you can spend on purchases that don't enhance your overall financial health.
Just as push-ups require a lot of strength, raising your savings can require a lot of willpower. To make sure you get this exercise right, try automating your contributions to your retirement account and other savings accounts. Setting up automatic contributions on payday means you won't have to work as hard, as the money gets where it needs to before you get a chance to spend it -- and without any effort on your part. It's a bit like doing push-ups on your knees.
3. Long jump into investing
Long jumping harnesses all the muscle power in your body -- and acceleration is key to a successful long jump. Investing, on the other hand, harnesses the power of your money and accelerates its growth. That's especially true if you invest for the long term.
If you're looking to cut financial waste out of your life, making smart investments is key. Otherwise, you may be wasting money by having too much cash tucked in the bank, where it's hardly earning any returns -- or even no returns at all. Even if you already invest, you may be wasting money if you haven't paid attention to the fees you're paying.
To trim your financial fat, look for low-cost exchange-traded funds that give you broad exposure to different market sectors or industries. Invest your money in assets that allow you to build a diversified portfolio and leave the money alone to grow. Your jump into long-term investing will help you harness the power of your money and leap far ahead on the path to financial security.
Start your money exercises today
No matter what shape you're currently in, you can start crunching the numbers, tightening your budget, and pushing up your savings goals.
As you get more financially fit from living on your tightened budget and saving more of your cash, you'll be ready to make the jump into the long-term investing that accelerates your wealth-building efforts. Get started today, and you'll be in much better financial shape by the time 2019 comes to an end.
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