According to a recent study by Capital One and the Decision Lab, reported by CNBC, 77% of Americans say they feel anxious about their financial situation.
Often a new year brings new financial goals, but consumers need a plan to reach those goals.
“Give yourself some grace. That’s the first thing you have to do first,” Thomas said. “You have to understand that you didn’t get into debt overnight, so getting out won’t happen like that either.”
Thomas said consumers must be intentional about the debts they want to pay off first. Preferably, starting with the one that really keeps you up at night.
“Work to pay that one down before any of the others. Once you finish that, start paying down the others using that snowball effect,” Thomas said.
She also talked about the importance of contributing whatever you can to your company’s 401K offering.
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“For those who still are fortunate to have jobs right now, you have to contribute to that retirement plan. Even if it’s just a little. A little can turn into a lot, especially when your employer is matching at a certain amount,” Thomas said.
As far as liquid cash for your savings account, she said the key is to make saving money mindless.
“What I mean by mindless is save in a way that you don’t even think about it. Set up a savings account with your checking account that takes a certain amount of money from your checking account every paycheck. That way, you just set it and forget it. Even if it’s just $25 or $50, at least it’s something,” Thomas said. "Savings apps like Digit can also help. I even use that one!"
She also mentioned finding money in places you may not have thought of.
“For those still working from home, calculate the amount of money you were spending on gas every week to get to your job. If you can, try to save that in an account. Continue to do that until it’s time to get back in the office,” Thomas said.
Thomas is also offering free, 30-minute consultation sessions and budget sheets to help people reach their savings goals.