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3 Smart Money Tips for January

Expert personal financial advice from Jack Otter—free of charge!

It's the start of the new year—and while you're whipping your waistline into shape, you might as well do the same for your financial affairs. Start the year off right by making these smart moves with your money:

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Embrace the Finance App

Your single best money-saving move for the new year: Keep track of how you spend every dollar in January and February. There are dozens of good apps to help, with varying levels of complexity, ranging from simple (Spendee) to powerful (Mint).

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Hook Up Your Accounts

And now, your single best money-discipline move for the new year: automate. Set up monthly transfers from your checking account to your credit card company if you carry a balance, until you wipe it out. Make monthly transfers to your savings account. Boost your 401(k) withholding by 2 percentage points. Open a high-yield online savings account and start making car payments—for your next car.

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Get Protected

Ever buy a big-ticket item only to see a lower price somewhere else...after you have shelled out? Turns out most major credit cards offer “price protection” refunds on those purchases, but many people don’t take advantage of it. For the record: According to CardHub, Chase cards offer the best policies, with up to $500 in reimbursement.

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