Genius Tips That’ll Make 2019 Your Financially Healthiest Year Ever

Ahh, the new year. It's always a time of new beginnings, fresh goals, and if your holiday spending was anything like mine, a time when your heart rate skyrockets when you take a look at how much you've spent in the past few weeks.

There's no shame in using your hard-earned money to buy yourself a flight home, or to buy a nice gift for a loved one, but if you're finding yourself feeling a bit financially overwhelmed, know that there's no better time to work on improving your financial health than right now.

"The new year is a great time to examine your money management and look at how you can re-evaluate your spending in key areas," says Nicole Lapin, financial expert and bestselling author of Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together...Finally. A super simple first step to getting yourself on a path to financial success? Just take a look at your account balances, which will help you set a realistic spending plan.

"Budgeting is tough, especially if you’re just getting started," says Lapin. "If you need a little help, I like Eno®, the Capital One® assistant," which helps you look out for your money by doing things like giving you your Capital One account balance, showing you recent transactions, and more in just an instant. Beyond budgeting, Eno is also great for peace of mind. "Wherever you are, Eno keeps an eye out for fraud on your Capital One accounts 24/7, sends alerts when something’s up, and is always ready to answer questions.”

Once you've taken an honest look at your accounts, your specific 2019 money goals will become way clearer. To help you figure out the best next steps for your financial goals, Elite Daily partnered with Capital One to get some advice that comes straight from the experts on how you can make this year your financially healthiest yet.

Make A 2019 Spending Plan

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The biggest mistake Lapin sees millennials make when it comes to their long-term financial health? Not having a plan. "You can’t blow a budget you don’t have," says Lapin, who encourages you to make your own sustainable plan by taking a look at what she calls "The Three E's": essentials, endgame, and extras.

The "essentials" category should be 70 percent of your overall monthly budget, and should be used for basic expenses like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, transportation, and insurances, says Lapin. "Endgame" refers to your future finances like your savings accounts, investments, or your retirement account, and should be 15 percent of your total monthly budget. The "extras" category is pretty self-explanatory: It's the leftover 15 percent of your monthly budget that you should spend on whatever makes you happy.

"Set this budget before the new year starts, and use a digital tool like Eno from Capital One to help stay on track. Eno provides updates on your account balances and can proactively remind you when bills are due, making staying informed of your spending plan that much easier,” says Lapin. "Then set regular check-ins to make sure you’re staying on track throughout the new year."

Take Your Savings To The Next Level

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There are a couple of different ways you can do it, according to Lapin, and the first one couldn't be easier. "Stash some of your money every month and automate your savings," she says. "It’s hard to miss what you can’t even see, and it keeps you on a regular saving schedule — whether you want to or not."

A second helpful hack? Name your savings accounts to remind you to continue working toward your money goals. I've used this tip in the past to help cover travel expenses, and I highly recommend it. Since I had an existing savings account with Capital One, it was super easy to set up a second account that I labeled "Travel." I contributed to it as I was able, and was very grateful to have a few hundred bucks socked away when I had to jump on a flight deal with a group of bachelorette-party-goers.

Pay Your Credit A Bit Of Attention

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"One really important thing to do going into the new year is to work on your credit score," says Lapin, who explains that your credit score is connected to the interest rates you get on your credit cards, mortgages and car loans. "It’s essentially your financial report card."

While looking at your score is an important first step, your next priority should be to raise your score the best you can. You can do this by ensuring you're keeping your credit card balances low, and also by never missing a payment. "If you’re a Capital One customer, you can set up automatic credit card bill pay reminders with Eno and pay your bill with a simple text instantly to give you peace of mind,” says Lapin. "Seriously, it’s one of the biggest factors to acing your score in the new year, and one of the easiest."

This post is sponsored by Capital One.