3 Smart Financial Goals That Will Help You Lead A Healthier, Happier Life

It’s time to finally pay off that debt.

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How To Become More Financially-Savvy

The time has come: you finally got your holiday credit card bill and it's not pretty. If you went a little bit overboard on your spending this holiday season, don't panic. We spoke with personal finance expert Rubina Ahmed-Haq about how you can pay off that credit card debt pronto, plus the other financial goals you should make for a happy and healthy 2017.

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Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt

1) Get Real About Your Debt

When you see your credit card statement, accept that you'll have to pay the debt off, says Ahmed- Haq. If you choose to pay off your credit card debt from another savings account that was allocated for other expenses, remember that you’ll still have to work towards getting that savings account back to where it once was.

 2) Create A Solid Plan

When it comes to paying off debt, the most important thing to do is have a plan, says Ahmed- Haq. Without a plan you won’t reach your goal, or you might not do so in the most efficient way possible.“Try and pay your debt off as soon as you can, but be realistic about it."

If you’re like most people, you won’t want to spend every dollar of your disposable income on paying off your credit card bill, she says, so commit to paying off your debt using one third or two thirds of that money.

 3) Get Creative With Managing Your Expenses

When you're paying off debt, research new ways to manage your expenses and debt repayment or speak to a financial adviser.

Ahmed-Haq recommends a repayment plan option such as American Express’ Installment Management Plan, which helps you manage big purchases with the option of three, six, or 12 month repayments.“If you don't have an emergency savings fund, this is a good alternative to get through any emergency expense instead of getting into more debt you can’t manage,” she says.

Another great resource that Ahmed-Haq suggests is Get Smarter About Money, which has free tools and calculators that will you manage your finances more efficiently.

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Goal: Afford Healthier Lifestyle Choices

Making a healthy lifestyle choice is always a step in the right direction, but sometimes it’s hard to finance these health and fitness goals.  “If you don’t have the extra money and the hard truth is you have to cut back somewhere, you can't keep doing what you’re doing and continue spending,” says Ahmed-Haq.

Check your monthly expenses and see what you can do to make your new healthy lifestyle choice happen. Look at your mortgage or rent, utility costs, transportation money or entertainment money and see where you can save a little extra cash. Then, brainstorm ways to cut those expenses. For example: can you bring your lunch from home and use that extra money to go towards your new gym membership?

If you think you're already managing your expenses as efficiently as possible, you just have to make some tough choices, says Ahmed-Haq. For example, if you want to buy organic vegetables, deciding not to buy as much meat as you normally would can help offset the extra cost of organic produce.

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Goal: Stop Arguing About Money With My Significant Other

Discussing finances with your partner or spouse doesn't always have to be stressful.

"If you’re living together or are married the most important thing is to always be honest with your partner about your income and debt," says Ahmed-Haq. And if you're not happy with how your partner is managing their finances, it’s important to bring up the issue in a polite manner, she says.

To make managing money together as a couple easier, Ahmed-Haq recommends that couples have a specific account for shared expenses and their own separate bank account for personal expenses.

Inspired to combine your health and finance goals? Here are 5 healthy goals that will save you money.