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Wealth Health with Stephanie Ruhle: Getting financially fit in 2021

Looking to build up your savings or pay down debt this year? Follow these simple steps to help achieve your goals.
/ Source: TODAY

In April 2020, unemployment rates in 43 states soared. With millions out of work, many people were forced to dip into their savings or money they had set aside for retirement to pay for basic necessities like food, utilities and rent.

Even if you didn’t lose your job, the pandemic has been a major source of stress — and it's been a boon not just on our physical health, but it’s forced many to stop and think about their long-term financial wellbeing.

How take control of your Wealth Health in 2021

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To help those struggling get on the right track, NBC News senior business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle met with three women who are working to retake control of their finances under difficult circumstances. The pandemic isn't over but with the start of a new year, there's no better time to think about the best way to achieve your financial goals.

Whether you want to get better about budgeting, build up savings for a rainy day or pay down debt, tune into the new TODAY All Day special "Wealth Health" on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. ET to watch Ruhle break down her top money tips for resetting in 2021.

Eliminate wasteful spending

JeanMarie Rinaldi a teacher and married mother of three kids was incredibly overwhelmed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of the stresses related to working from home while looking after her kids, she knew her finances were not quite where she wanted them to be by the end of 2020.

To get on track, Rinaldi decided to record her spending for two weeks in order carefully monitor where every dollar was going. Then she sat down with Ruhle to look through her findings and was shocked — not only by some of her spending habits, but how simple the solutions were to make it easier to curb unnecessary spending and budget better in the future.

Learn how to take control of your spending by following Rinaldi's story.

Download the TODAY All Day Daily Spending Tracker here.

Grow money in savings accounts

Vanessa Moore, a New Jersey-based paralegal, became increasingly worried about her finances throughout 2020. As a contract worker, Moore is now concerned that when her current contract ends later this year, she won't have enough emergency savings to sustain her family's lifestyle. She turned to Ruhle to figure how much she really needed to save right now and how to grow any money set aside.

In addition to calculating how much she needed to put into an emergency fund, Moore also received additional guidance on the benefits of high-yield savings accounts.

Find out how to make your money work for you and follow Moore's journey.

Pay down debt

Anna Rogers, 34, was saving up to buy a house before the pandemic hit. Prior to 2020, she was working two part-time jobs as a bar manager and a program manager for a nonprofit community health center in Connecticut, where she lives. After quitting the bar job over COIVD-19 safety concerns, she took on extra hours at the nonprofit, which allowed her to work remotely. But even with the extra hours, Rogers was only making about two-thirds of her previous income.

With less income and mounting debt (including credit card, student loan and medical debt), Rogers still had to pay all of her usual bills. On top of that, she was saving only about half of what she was able to save before, making the goal of home ownership seem almost unattainable.

Eliminating debt can be extremely difficult if you don't know where to start, so Ruhle helped Rogers identify which debt to pay down first and advised her on additional ways to save in other areas.

Check out Ruhle's best methods for paying down debt and follow Rogers' journey.

Ready to make 2021 your year of Wealth Health? Tune into TODAY All Day on Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET.