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Consumer Handbook: New Year, New Finances!

Piggy Bank
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Pink piggy bank with pink christmas bauble and christmas lights on white background.

This week we’re talking about finances. The holiday expenses may be looming on the credit card bill, or perhaps the bank balance is a little lighter from the extra gifts exchanged with family and friends. If this is the year to reduce debt and bump up the savings account, it's not a bad idea to revisit prior financial goals.

The current COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect households. People are reassessing retirement timelines, considering where and how they live, and assessing future personal goals in the face of the new omicron variant. Several federal financial programs are coming to an end soon, and employment opportunities vary from one sector to another. As consumers look ahead to the new year, having a stable financial footing may become a necessary goal to meet day to day needs.

When thinking about current finances and sticking to a New Year’s Resolution, consider these tips from BBB: Inventory your credit cards. Credit cards are known to have high interest rates, and this can waste a lot of money over time. Reach out to the credit card company to see if a balance transfer offer can be used to switch to a card with a lower rate or ask if the interest rate can be lowered. Avoid wasting money on unethical businesses or scams. When making a purchase or choosing a business, check with BBB. Making careful decisions now can save time, money, and headaches later. Take advantage of free tools. There are many online tools that can help manage and reduce debt. Start budgeting. Creating a written budget and tracking spending is one of the best ways to save money and stop spending more than what is earned. First, figure out how much debt you have; you need an accurate picture before you can figure out your budget.

Cape Girardeau native Whitney Quick is the Regional Director of Better Business Bureau in Cape Girardeau, MO, and is responsible for outreach efforts in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois. Quick is a graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School and Southeast Missouri University where she majored in public relations. Quick enjoys helping educate consumers in the southeast Missouri region by sharing consumer tips with groups and educating them about BBB’s resources.
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