The new year always marks a time of celebration and renewal. It symbolizes the end of one life chapter and the beginning of a fresh one — both occasions worthy of reflection and perhaps a champagne toast.
As we count down the minutes to 2015, I will be raising my own glass of bubbly and sipping in fond remembrance of the last 12 months and wishing for the year ahead to bring prosperity to us all. May we each be blessed with the unique richness that we seek, be that in mind, body, spirit, family, love, or wallet. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above!
While we’ve touched upon many of those topics in the last 8 months, it’s probably obvious that my biggest mission is to empower my readers both in their minds and their pocketbooks. To that end, I’ve invited fellow boss lady and highly accomplished journalist and author, Nicole Lapin, to share some practical tips to get organized and mentally prepare you for financial prosperity in 2015. Nicole has the distinction of having been the youngest anchor ever at CNN and then later CNBC, and in 2011 she founded a charity called Lost Girls to provide young women with mentorship and gently-worn career attire.
Instead of focusing on nickel-and-diming yourself, Nicole’s advice focuses on investing in yourself so you don’t have to stress over the little things. But, in order to do that you have to be able to speak the language of money. After all, money is a language like anything else, and the sooner you can join the conversation, the sooner you can live the life you want.
As you’ll see, Nicole is kind of a big deal, yet she has an accessible communication style and is truly one of the only finance experts you don’t need a dictionary to understand (which is saying a lot)!
If you like what you see here, you can pre-order her book, Rich Bitch, on Amazon — it’s due out at the end of February 2015.
7 Ways to Boost Your Finances for Under $7
by Nicole Lapin
It can feel daunting trying to tackle those financial New Years resolutions, and the last thing you want to do is blow a ton of money getting your budget organized and under control. But sometimes it’s the little (and inexpensive!) things that can make a huge impact. Try these 7 nifty ideas for a new year that’s fresh, fun, and financially responsible:
1. File folders. Buy them. Not just for the obvious things like bills, tax forms, and receipts, but for those “where do I put this?” things like a copy of your lease, your gym membership contract, and utility agreements. This way you can keep track of how much you’re being charged each month—and be in a better position to contest fee hikes or erroneous charges. Give yourself two hours to organize and file everything away and you’ll re-emerge a happier, more sane person. Guaranteed.
2. Get the app. Wanna get the most out of your taxes this year? Download the TurboTax SnapTax app and start filing right from your phone. All you need to do is snap a picture of your W-2 and the gizmo starts chugging the numbers for you. Once finished, you decide whether to file online or by mail.
3. Roll pre-tax style. If you’re taking public transit at least once per day, you likely qualify for a monthly unlimited metro card, which in most cities adds up to around $2.00 per ride. Many companies will also offer their employees these cards at pre-tax rates for even greater savings. Don’t spend your valuable paycheck simply getting to work, dummy!
4. Cans and bottles for a cause. Do a little good for the world and your wallet. Save your cans and bottles for redemption at your local grocery store or redemption center and then donate the returns to your favorite charity. The donation is tax deductible, makes a difference, and is more eco-friendly than just throwing those recyclables away. Bonus: it’s a great excuse to throw a party and watch those donation dollars add up!
5. Get your flu shot. Don’t let sick days slow you down from doing your best at work. The vaccination is covered by most insurance plans (aka, FREE) and available at most pharmacies. Call ahead to check availability and remember: it takes up to two weeks to kick in. You can’t get ahead at work if you’re home watching re-runs of The Bachelor, right?
6. Coffee to go. We’re the biggest proponents around for buying your daily latte should you choose to (hello, productivity!), but be smart about it. Download the app for your fav coffee chain for daily savings. For example, Starbucks offers its card-carrying members savings on milk, syrup, and refills. Many other chains offer free refills with your receipt on the same day of original purchase. Coffee break, anyone?
7. Dry-clean at home. One word: Dryel. Buy it, use it, love it. Just spray the solution onto dry-clean only clothes (cashmere sweaters, silk tops, you name it), zip them inside the included laundry bag with one of their special dryer sheets, and throw it in a conventional dryer for around 20 minutes. Your clothes come out clean, smelling fresh, and wrinkle-free for less than $2.00 each.
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A little more about Nicole Lapin…
Nicole got her start in finance at age eighteen, reporting from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for First Business Network. She went on to become the youngest anchor ever at CNN and then to claim the same title at CNBC, where she anchored the only global finance show on the network, Worldwide Exchange, while contributing financial reports to MSNBC and TODAY.
Nicole has also served as a business anchor and special correspondent for Bloomberg Television. She is the money saving correspondent for The Wendy Williams Show and reports on the business of Hollywood for The Insider.
She is also the creator and host of the AOL Originals show, I’ll Never Forget My First, where she interviews influential women about the first time they knew they made it. Nicole has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) certification. She graduated summa cum laude and as the valedictorian of her class at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.