If 2018 was a little rough on your pocketbook, you are not alone. Despite a robust economy, many people still had trouble making ends meet. Now is the time to do something about it. Let’s make 2019 a better year financially speaking by taking action. Here are some things you should look into doing.

1) Start A Savings Account

Open a new savings account and have your employer automatically take out 5% of your paycheck. Even if that adds up to only $50 a check, this will add up quickly. Act as if the money does not exist and let it build. By the end of 2019, you will be amazed at how much you have in your savings.

2) Audit Your Expenses

It is easy to let expenses get away from you. Look at what you are spending and see if you really need the expense or if you can downgrade it. For example, do you need the highest internet speed or the largest satellite television package? Perhaps now is time to join the world of cord cutters who are giving up their satellite or cable entirely.

3) Shop For Cheaper Services

Of the bills that you do have, can you get a better rate. The beginning of the year is a great time to search for cheaper car insurance, gym memberships, cell phone plans and even cheaper places to live.

4) Apply For A New Job

The economy is doing great and unemployment is at a record low. What this means is that employers are having a hard time filling positions. The days of staying with one company for your whole life are over. Forget about the annual 3 to 4 percent raise that barely covers inflation. If you want to get a real raise, you need to apply for new positions. You could easily increase your income by 10 to 20 percent by simply switching to another company so time to dust that resume off.

5) Make A Budget

There are so many people who can not even tell you what their monthly expenses are. They just pay the bills as they come in blindly. Every computer out there has a simple spreadsheet program. Use it to create a budget so that you see where your money is going. It is a great tool to use to see if you have reasonable expenses or if they are out of control. It can also help you see where you can make cuts or changes to improve your financial situation.

6) Refinance Loans

Have you been making your payments on time? If so, why not refinance some of your loans to a better interest rate. Refinancing your home is a complex process but refinancing an auto is no big deal at all. Most companies will handle all the details for you. You just apply and sign everything when they are done. You could save $100 a month or more on interest depending on what your rate is.

7) Negotiate Better Credit Card Rates

The same thing as above goes with your unsecured credit cards. If you have been on time, call your credit card companies and attempt to secure a better rate. If you are paying an annual fee, ask for it to be removed. If all else fails, apply for a new lower interest credit card and transfer your balance over.

8) Slash Your Electric Bill

If you live in a right to choose area, look for a provider that offers a better rate per KWH. Some will also offer bonuses for switching. After that, cut your usage by lowering the temperature on your water heater, installing more efficient bulb, unplugging unused electronic devices and by replacing worn weatherstripping.

9) Join A Discount Club

Join a club like Sam’s and start buying frequently used items in bulk. You can save hundreds of dollars a month in groceries compared to what the smaller grocery stores charge. Don’t be turned off by the cost of the membership, it will pay for itself in no time.

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