5 steps to take with your money in 2022, according to personal finance experts |

In a time when inflation is at a 40-year high and prices are surging on everything from gasoline and food to furniture and cars, many consumers are focused on how to better handle their money. Developing practical strategies for saving, spending and investing can help you build an emergency fund, lower debt and gain peace of mind.

Bankrate asked personal financial experts from across the country for their advice on how you can make the current and future years more financially fruitful.

Managing your finances after COVID-19

Many U.S. consumers put more money into savings during the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by government stimulus payments and a decrease in spending on things like travel, transportation and eating out. Many used the extra cash to also pay down debt.

The U.S. personal saving rate, the percentage of consumer income that’s put into savings after taxes and living expenses, more than doubled in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The personal saving rate decreased somewhat in 2021, to 12.2 percent, and in the first two months of 2022 rejoined pre-pandemic levels at an average 6.2 percent.

If you saved more during the pandemic, consider keeping up this habit to further boost your savings for emergencies, retirement and any other financial goals.

5 money moves to take in 2022

— Create a budget

— Be mindful of expenses

— Start investing with a small amount

— Take a second look at cryptocurrencies

— Think beyond next year

Create a budget

Though some aspects of your personal finances might change — such as where you bank or what stocks you invest in — there is one piece of a personal finance strategy that remains constant: You need a budget.

A budget can involve mapping out your spending each month, including line items earmarked for things like savings and debt repayment. A budget should be flexible, as expenses change over time. A…

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