5 Ways to Stay Financially Fit in 2018

Gyms are crowded this time of year as New Year’s resolutions send people to spinning or CrossFit classes in hopes of finding better health. At least for a few weeks. This year, may Travis Credit Union suggest a resolution you’ll actually keep. Forget the diets and exercise, save money. It’s easier.

Lose the extra holiday weight

Chances are you’ve put on a few pounds of debt over the holidays. There are several strategies on how to reduce debt. Each has a different route, but the end goal being the elimination of debt.

These strategies include:

  • The annual percentage rate, where you pay off your highest rate debt first while making minimum payments on your other creditors. Once you have paid off the highest annual percentage rate you move to the next in line and continue. Bonus: This strategy will probably save you the most money in interest.
  • The quick elimination strategy makes the debts that are the easiest to pay off top priority. The debt with the lowest number of payments remaining comes first.
  • The lowest balance first strategy has a subtle difference from the Quick Elimination strategy. It prioritizes your debts based on which one has the lowest balance. This wipes away those little debts and allows full focus on the larger ones. Bonus: Research shows people who pay off the smallest debts first are most successful with debt reduction.
  • The highest balance is just that. Prioritize the largest debts and start whittling them down. This strategy makes your highest balances become mole hills.
  • The debt with the highest monthly payment may be most critical to you. After all, this could easily be your mortgage, the largest investment and roof over your head. Select this strategy to prioritize your debts with the highest monthly payments and protects what is most important to you.
  • Use the lowest payment first debt reduction strategy to keep the greatest number of creditors off your back even in the most difficult financial times. This strategy puts your lowest monthly payments first.

The key is to pick a debt diet plan and stick to it. Tightening the belt on other expenditures, and applying to your debt is the debt diet.

Resist the urge to splurge

Eat less, exercise more is the weight-loss mantra. In matters of money, it’s spend less, save more. In financial terms that means shop smarter, lower your credit card interest rate and resist impulse buys and binge-spending.

Saving is easier when it’s done automatically. Consider setting up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings each payday. Save extra when you can.

Keep track of your progress

This is the weekly weigh-in, but instead of measuring pounds we’re counting dollars. Budgeting can be simple or scientific, ranging from easy-to-use smartphone apps like MyInsight to full-fledged personal finance software such as Quicken.

Track your spending and saving habits in the manner that best fits you. Whether it’s a simple system where you allocate your monthly budget to a cash envelope or a sophisticated cash flow analysis, make sure you’re willing to keep it up to date and adhere to your budget.

Rely on a good trainer

A good personal trainer can help make your exercise plan more efficient. In the way of financial help, TCU agrees that this can make all the difference. Travis Financial Services and our free financial webinars will help keep you on track.

Our experienced financial consultants are available to help with identifying, prioritizing and helping to strategically reach your investment goals.

Sometimes it’s as easy as just getting you started, sometimes you need someone to hold you accountable. Just like in fitness, people make all the difference.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Everyone knows that “lose weight fast” claims are as phony as “get rich quick” schemes. It’s going to take time to reach your health and wealth goals.

Either way, fitness begins with taking the first step. You can reach out to our Travis Financial Solutions professionals by visiting www.traviscu.org/investments/our-financial-consultants. Also, you can take a look at free financial seminars close to you at www.traviscu.org/webinars.

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