twocents.lifehacker.com

Photo: everydayplus (Shutterstock) New Year’s resolutions typically fail when they’re sweepingly ambitious—which can really hurt you when you’re focused on managing your money. Instead, focus on quick, easy-to-manage personal finance tasks that will put you in good shape for 2021—like the ones you’ll find below. Top up your emergency fund Nearly a third of Americans don’t have an emergency fund, though most personal finance experts recommend setting money aside for unexpected expenses like medical emergencies, loss of income, or vehicle repairs as one of the most important things you can do. If your finances aren’t in bad shape but you still don’t have an emergency fund that can cover your expenses for 3-6 months, consider topping yours up with your impending $600 COVID relief check (creating a mid-January calendar reminder might help you remember to do so). Increase your 401(k) contributions With compound interest, a dollar saved in your twenties can be worth $10 saved in your fifties. With that in mind, take the opportunity to increase your 401(k) payments (if you can), especially if your employer offers matching contributions. Sign up for automatic bill payments Set up automatic payments in your checking account for all of your regular bills, including the minimum payments on your credit card. Otherwise, it’s too easy to miss payments, which can unnecessarily hurt your credit score and trigger late fees. Likewise, automatic payments to your savings account can help you build a financial reserve, too (say, $100 set aside from every pay check). […]