The start of a new year is a great time to get your finances in order. It’s not always easy, but it sure is worth it. We hope these 5 tips will help you reach your financial goals.
Make 2017 the year to manage your debts. Credit cards? Mortgage? Student loans? Anything you’re currently paying interest on needs to be handled first. While you’re at it, check your credit score! Yes, checking it too often can bring it down, but not knowing it at all will leave you in the dark financially. If your credit is poor, managing your current debt and paying on time, or better yet, early and regularly, can slowly build your credit back up. Good credit is a lot like Rome, it can’t be built in a day, but following the points below will help you manage your finances more wisely.
Time to wake up and smell the singles you’re burning! Do you know how much of your paycheck goes to items that are $10 and under? Even $5 and under? You’ve probably heard of people saving hundreds, sometimes thousands by stopping their daily trip to the coffee shop. Take a look at your recent bank or credit card statement, the patterns you see might surprise you. Check out our post for some strategies to avoid unnecessary expenses.
This is probably one of the most obvious financial resolutions, but keeping track of your spending and saving through budgeting is one of the #majorkeys to success. Keep in mind; budgeting isn’t as hard as you think it is, and you can still save even if you are in debt. Set a rule for yourself and divvy up that paycheck; for example, you can allocate 50% for necessities, 30% towards spending money, and 20% can go towards savings. You can play with the percentages to suit your lifestyle; the main point of the exercise is to learn to be responsible, consistent and disciplined with your income.
Sometimes you must say no to people (including your children and yourself). This one might cause you to lose a few friends, but friends who don’t care about your financial security aren’t real friends. We’re not recommending that you should never go out or buy anything nice, but make sure you are clearly differentiating between the need to have and nice to have when you decide to spend money. Saving on the smaller things and not attending every event you are invited to can help you save for what’s important and necessary.
Finally, if you’re not into balancing your checkbook IRL (in real life), find an app that will do it for you. Personal finance apps make keeping track of spending, saving, and investing simple. If you’re looking for recommendations, you can Google ‘best personal finance apps’ or take a look at this list.
Sticking to these financial resolutions might be difficult at times, but if you get off track you can always start again. Take a quarterly snapshot of your accounts and watch your progress. Seeing your balances go down and your savings go up will be all the motivation you need to keep going.
Have any financial resolutions that are not on this list? Share them in the comments section below.