It's time to take control of your finances this year; let's make a plan and stick to it. You might be saving up for a vacation, looking to build up your savings, or pay off some debt. No matter your plan, you need to do these things to stop wasting money and save your money.

Save in the right places

Having a savings account is great, but it’s even better if it has a high annual percentage rate or APR. With these accounts, you save more because the interest rates are higher. The more money you can contribute to an account like this, the faster your savings will grow. Chase Bank money market rates are at 3.75% right now, meaning you could earn more than ever by opening an account. Finding a high-interest savings account that works for you is one of the most realistic ways to save money.

Growing your savings

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Check your financial statements often

Keep track of your spending habits. If you have a Discover card, you can check your FICO score for free at any time without damaging your credit. You can check for fraud alerts and accounts that you’ve opened. It’s a great way to see your credit score and how your spending has affected your score. Check out how paying your debt down increases your credit score. 

If you don’t take your finances seriously, life won’t be where you want to be. Plan accordingly, and you’ll be ready for whatever surprises the future has in store for you.

Stop overpaying for frivolous things

The best thing you can do is plan out your week. Take your paycheck and create a budget. If you can afford to, give yourself a small amount of “fun money” in cash. Use this money for when you can’t resist an impulse buy or you’ve had a rough day. Knowing you have this money in your wallet lets you consider the purchase worth it.

If you’re tempted to buy an expensive treat while you’re out, consider stocking up on your favorite ingredients at home. Making something at home can be just as satisfying, and you won’t pay for overpriced things. If you budget for these things in your grocery expenses, you won’t find yourself short on money at the end of the week.

Stop paying high-interest rates

It’s easy to be taken in by credit offers that come in the mail or to spend big on Black Friday. Maybe your student loans haven’t gone down as quickly as you’d hoped, and you’re ready to break the cycle. Check out Tally. This website can consolidate your high-interest debts into one monthly payment. You’ll get a lower interest rate and can stop worrying about which bills you should pay off first. Take the headache out of trying to manage everything yourself. 

Look for government programs that can relieve your student loans, whether a deferment plan until you can get your financials under control or working in an industry that will pay for your continuing education. There are plans for teachers who work for a certain number of years and get their loans paid off. If you want to further your education, check out your options before taking out a big loan.