LUBBOCK, Texas — Although the economic turmoil brought on by 2020 didn’t make it the easiest year to save money, there’s still plenty to do to achieve financial goals in 2021. Jeffrey Nicholas, a Lubbock financial expert and the owner of Nicholas Financial, gave some tips for how to save money and pay off debt.
“Remember that saving is more of a marathon, not a sprint,” Nicholas said.
If there’s anything we’ve all learned from the stress of 2020, it’s how important it can be to plan ahead with our money – even if that means putting away a little bit at a time.
“A good financial plan really incorporates market uncertainty like we’ve seen during the pandemic,” Nicholas said.
That financial plan will look different for everyone, but to figure out yours, start by tracking and budgeting monthly expenses.
“Really take a good, hard look at some of those areas that maybe you can, or maybe need to, or should cut back in,” Nicholas said.
Nicholas recommended making a list or spreadsheet to see exactly what you can afford and what you can cut back on. After paying for necessities: rent, utilities and food, Nicholas suggested making paying off debt a priority to avoid paying high interest rates.
“If debt is there, tracking a debt balance, as well as what that debt payment looks like,” said Nicholas. “You know, just understanding and telling your money where to go, versus your money telling you where to go can pay huge dividends over the long haul.”
Having an extra buffer of savings can also help account for surprise expenses – like those that popped up during the pandemic. Nicholas also encouraged folks who’ve gotten their stimulus checks to try their best to stretch that money.
“You want to really make wise decisions with that money that’s coming at you from the federal government,” said Nicholas. “If you’re still employed, and you got some stimulus money, then consider contributing that money to some type of savings account or retirement account.”
Nicholas also offered a few simple ideas to save money.
“When we leave the house, turning all the lights off. If we’re not in the home, turning the air conditioning or the heating off,” said Nicholas. “You’d be surprised how those little daily habits will add up over time and take the utility bill that seems to be really high and take it way down.”
Saving small amounts over a long period of time can help you stay on track to reach your long term goals. If you’d like to reach out to Nicholas for your personal financial advising, you can visit his website.