One of the more common resolutions that people make is to improve their finances. No matter the time of year, people want to be in a better money situation. What many people don’t understand, though, is that there might be opportunities all around to improve your finances. Sometimes, the chance to improve your finances isn’t glaringly obvious, and you miss out on the opportunity. Here are some of the opportunities you might be missing if you aren’t paying attention:
Paying Off High-Interest Debt
If you want to dramatically improve your finances over time, pay off high-interest debt. This is debt that costs you each month. The fees you pay don’t provide you with anything of value; they are the price you pay for the privilege of borrowing. Interest goes right into someone else’s pocket, and this is money that you can’t put to good use for you.
When you are stuck with high-interest debt obligations, your money isn’t free for you to use. You can’t invest it to earn a return, or you might miss out on opportunities because you don’t have the available 24capital. When you have the opportunity to pay down high-interest debt, take it.
These opportunities might include balance transfers to lower your interest rate, or a windfall or tax return. Perhaps it’s a raise at work, or a bonus. You might even have the opportunity to start a side gig to earn a little extra money. Put that money toward paying down your high-interest debt, instead of getting caught up with lifestyle inflation or some other frivolous spending, and your financial situation will improve.
Developing Marketable Skills
When you have the opportunity to develop marketable skills, you should take it. If your work offers to pay for a course or certification, jump at the chance, even if it means an investment of time and effort. In the end, this marketable skill could pay off. You can transfer this skill in a way that results in a promotion, or in a better job at another firm (just make sure you understand the terms of having the course paid for).
Even if you have to pay for a course, it can be to your benefit to develop marketable skills. You might be able earn a higher degree and get a pay raise, or you might get a certification that can mean increased credibility. Your marketable skills can not only help you with your current career path, but they can also help you if you decide to strike out on your own, or if you decide to switch careers.
At the very least, there are skills that can turn you into a better money manager. In some cases, the education you receive can help you make better decisions with your money so that you earn and spend more efficiently. Look at what education, knowledge, and skill you can acquire, and how it might help you in your life. It’s even better if your work will pay for it, and you can take advantage of it for free.
Learn to Network
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Too often, it’s not what you know, but who you know. If you refuse to network and get to know people, you might be missing out on opportunities to improve your finances. Networking is a good way to get inside information on certain jobs, and to provide you an “in” at certain companies.
When you have a chance to get to know someone in your field, take that chance. If you are invited to ask a question, make it a good one. Think about what you would ask someone you admire ahead of time so that when the chance comes up, you are ready.
It’s also a good idea to consider how you can get involved in your local community and meet others who might be able to give you a hand up. Finally, make sure that you are also helping others. Part of networking is giving others a chance and helping them to improve. If you can help each other, you all win.
You might be surprised at how networking can improve your finances. Whether it’s learning about investing better, developing a new partnership, or learning about a job opening, your finances can be improved by paying attention to who you know.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.