7 Money Goals To Make for 2012

January 16th, 20125:30 pm @

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This year, instead of just aiming to “save more”, let’s pick a few real money goals, put real numbers behind them and really make it happen!

1. Establish an emergency fund savings goal and start working towards it
While there isn’t a magical number for having an emergency savings, six to nine months is typical. So this year, let’s aim to figure out how many months is best for us and then start working towards that goal. For example, if you have a job that’s in high demand and you know you would probably have a fairly short job search, aim for six months. If you anticipate a longer search, shoot for nine months. Another resource to consider is your support system (family, significant other etc).

2. Pay off any credit card debt
If you have credit card debt, it should be your #1 goal expense to axe. Focus on it until it’s gone, and then learn to use a credit card to your benefit. Credit cards are a great way to get extra airline miles or cash back rewards, so learn to use one wisely, if you aren’t already.

3. Get an airline miles credit card [and use it wisely]
If you are already using a credit wisely, make 2012 the year you cash in on free flights by applying for an airline miles card and paying for your monthly expenses with your card AND paying it off at the end of every month. For example, Continental’s OnePass card gives you 25,000 after your first card use, and American Airlines has card signup deals several times a year that can earn you upwards of 75,000 miles (that’s a flight to Europe right there!)

4. Ask for a raise
Is a down economy really the time to ask for a raise? If you deserve it, yes! Make sure you research salary averages for your job description, and be prepared with a list of ways you’ve helped the company, brought in more money, and/or increased your responsibilities, if needed.

5. Cancel one unnecessary bill
While many of us have already downsized our extras as much as possible, let’s make 2012 the year we cancel cable and use Hulu, or cancel Netflix because we only watch one movie every four months, or cancel your gym membership if you haven’t been in six months and start running or biking or yoga.

6. Max out your 401k and/or start an IRA
If your employer offers a 401k, sign up. That’s free money! If your work doesn’t offer a 401k, you can still save for your future by opening a Roth IRA. The maximum contribution for 2012 is $5,000, but even if you can budget $1,000 for 2012, that’s better than zero, and better than that money sitting in your savings account, assuming you already have an emergency fund in your savings.

7. Stop buying “deals” you won’t use
Groupon and Living Social, we’re looking at you. Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean it’s a deal and doesn’t mean you’ll end up using it by the time it expires. If this is a tough one for you, unsubscribe from their daily newsletters and delete the app from your phone. If you’re more disciplined, create some rules for yourself. For example, we’ll only by local deals for places we already go, places we already want to go, places that have a Yelp rating of 4+ stars, deals that don’t expire for at least six months, and deals that are close enough to our neighborhood that we’ll actually end up going. Do what works for you.

What’s one of your 2012 finance goals?

This post was written by Frugal Bon Vivant on behalf of LoveMoney.com. In order to bring you more great deals, Frugal Bon Vivant partners with select companies that we think you’d actually want to hear about. Learn more about advertising on Frugal Bon Vivant. Photo by: quinn.anya