Kurt’s top 5 easy financial fixes to kick off 2015

January 21, 2015

By Kurt Schindler

New Year’s resolutions have a bad reputation because they are easy to say, much harder to do. But if anything, my experience has taught me, it’s that everybody has the willpower to change habits.  Here are my top five easy financial fixes that you can achieve to kick off 2015:

•           Set a financial goal – it could be something simple, from paying off a loan to going on vacations. You have to be realistic in order to accomplish it. Establish an amount and set a due date to reach your goal. Calculate how much money you need to save during the set amount of time and check if it’s doable. Remember: You have to visualize your goal in order to reach it.

•           Save everything (change included) – there is nothing wrong with saving quarters, dimes and pennies. You will be surprised at how much you could save here. Try guessing how much you could save in a week and then do it! Also, don’t forget your electronic money. If you have a Banco Popular® (BPPR) deposit account, you could be eligible to set up “Ahorro Directo” and save every time you use your BPPR’s ATH card.

•           Find ways to change you spending plan – calculate how much you spend daily, identify and cut back on all those unnecessary expenses. Put that money aside towards your goal. You could use several tools to help you visualize this. One that works for me is the Personal Budget Spreadsheet. And for an extra kick, you could log in to your My Online Bank account and use our Money Management Tool on a daily basis.

•           Save without even noticing it – Set up automatic transfers to your savings account on pay day and put a predetermined amount in another account. This way you are not going to miss that “extra money” from your paycheck. You will soon forget that the transfer even exists and your savings account will continue to grow.

•           Let’s go extreme! – Are you ready? Try this – If a friend buys you a cup of coffee, take the dollar you were going to spend and put it away. Act like you spent it, that way you will think you don’t have it and therefore, you are not going to need it.

Soon you’ll get used to these saving tips and make them a part of your daily routine this new year. Start today and not later! Make this year’s resolution to upgrade your finances.


Kurt A. Schindler is the director of Financial Education at Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. He is a Certified Financial Planner® and holds a PhD in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University. Recently, he was honored with the George Bailey Service Award by the American Bankers Association (ABA). The award is conferred to non-CEO bank employees who demonstrate outstanding initiative, perform highly effective work and inspire others. It is the only award conferred by the ABA as part of the Community Commitment Awards.