It’s a New Year and a fresh start. That means it’s time to make some resolutions. This year why don’t you focus on some long-term goals by overhauling your financial habits. Take advantage of this season to set some ground rules that are sure to put you on track for success.
Here are 9 ways to help you stay out of the resolution rut and start off on the right financial foot.
- Make a budget – Your budget is the most important tool you can start with. If you want to find a way to save more, build wealth, and improve your finances, it starts with knowing how much is coming in and going out. Once you have a monthly budget, you can identify spending habits and work toward saving more.
- Set savings goals – Take advantage of the clean slate to brainstorm your goals for this year. Would you like to finance a large purchase (car, house, etc.) or take a family vacation? Write it down. Once you set your goals it will be much easier to get there.
- Save every month – Take advantage of automatic transfers and send some of your monthly checks straight to savings. Look at your budget and your savings goals to find out how much you can save.
- Set up Bill PayIf you haven’t done it already, set up automatic bill pay so that you never lose money on late fees. Use your bank’s online payment center to manage recurring bills for hassle free payment. Bills that are variable can still be addressed and you can usually setup automatic bill pay through the providers customer portal.
- Do some holiday shopping – Post holiday sales are the best ways to buy seasonal décor and gift items for the lowest prices. Now is a great time to get ahead of the game and make sure you are ready for next year’s holiday season. Be careful not to overdo it. Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good buy. Pay attention to your budget and be judicious with your purchases.
- Check your credit cards – Look at your wallet and make sure your credit cards are working for you. If you don’t have credit cards yet, think about opening one so that you can take advantage of credit building opportunities. Don’t spend more than you can pay off each month, or you will be stuck paying extra in interest. If you use your credit wisely, you can build a healthy credit history and take advantage of many rewards.
- Schedule a Finance Day – Take the time now to schedule at least one day a month to review your finances, check your account activity, and review savings and spending habits. This will help you stay on top of things and ensure nothing slips through the cracks. It will also help keep you motivated to continue the plan.
- Invest in retirement – The New Year is the perfect time to assess your retirement plans and make the most of your contributions. It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. If your employer offers contribution matching, you are ignoring free money.
- Know your bank – If it’s been a while since you’ve talked to your banker, it might be time for a visit. Your local bank associates can help identify products and services to maximize your finances. Did you know that the best place for your emergency fund might not be regular savings? Depending on your goals, you could be earning more interest in CDs or Money Market accounts. Your bank can help identify the best strategies for you.
Make 2019 your best financial year yet with a few simple strategies.