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Money matters for 2013

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

Money matters for 2013

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There’s no better time than a new year to get one’s financial house in order. Whether it’s to resolve to save more money, spend less, open that retirement account, pay down credit card debt, or really cut back on expenditures. January serves as a good time to start with a clean slate.
But in order to really do this you have to get a clear picture in your mind of the goals that you want to accomplish and set a plan of action. Sometimes setting financial goals can mean  actually being able to cross
something off of your financial checklist. In order to get you started, we have some tips to help you get more financially in tune for 2013.
Review all of your monthly statements: Are you the type whose bank statement remains on the table gathering dust? Make a point of opening all financial statements and thoroughly reviewing them.
That way you can see how much you are being charged for the use of your debit card, writing cheques, and how much the bank is charging your account each month.
After reviewing a bank statement one woman decided to cut down on her debit card usage and pay cash when she realized she was being charged 50 cents every time she used her card. It may seem small but the savings can really add up. Reviewing your financial statement also lets you know whether everything on your account is up to date, or whether you need to contact your financial institution.
Have adequate insurance: If there is one thing you can count on in this life is uncertainty. You never know when a car accident will strike, or illness, or fire or an act of nature that damages your home. The best way to contain unexpected costs is to have adequate health, auto and life insurance; keep premiums paid and understand what your policy covers.
Protect against identity theft: We live in a technologically-driven world where gadgets rule – iPad, laptops, iPod, tablets and so on. However, it’s important to realize that these gadgets contain important personal information and you need to guard them.
That’s why it’s important to change passwords every six months, be cautious when shopping online and only use reputable sites, especially when using credit cards, because identity theft is real. If someone got a hold of your personal or financial information it could have major implications.
Plug money leaks: With the cost of everything rising, this is a good time to look at ways you can cut back. If you buy lunch every day, consider getting up an hour earlier and preparing something to take with you.
That $15 to $20 per day adds up. Review your cable package and cut back, especially if you’re paying for channels that you aren’t watching.
Funnel more of your paycheque into a savings or credit union account that you don’t touch. If you don’t see it, you can’t spend it. You’ll be surprised how your savings will grow.
Expect the best, but plan for the worst: Financial experts have always admonished us to build a nest egg of at least six months of savings that can tie you over in the event you are laid off, unable to work for a prolonged period of time, going through a major life-changing event like marriage or divorce.
Having substantial savings can be helpful in getting over any financial hurdles and make things easier for your family.
Seek the help of a professional: Sometimes we can all use a little help getting a clear fiscal path, so it may be worth it to seek out the help of a professional who can help to get us on the right path.