Deciding to make some financial changes can be a popular New Year’s resolution. It’s also one that occurs just after the season of giving and just before tax season, which can make if the most ardent penny pincher throw up their hands in hopelessness. But don’t despair. If you’ve got a plan, you can meet those resolutions.
- Make Your Saving Automatic
Having trouble setting money aside? Consider pulling a small amount from your paycheck and automatically setting it aside. If your paycheck gets direct deposited into your account, you should have the option of assigning a small amount of the check directly into a savings account, even if the account is with another bank. By automatically having the funds set aside, the money gets saved before you can use it. You’ll get peace of mind by knowing you’re actively setting money aside and you’ve got the funds available in case of an emergency.
It also helps to set a goal. If you want to save $2,000 in a year and get paid biweekly, have $167 saved with each paycheck.
- Tackle the Debt
The methods to attack debt range from the simple (pay off the low stuff first) to the aggressive (take out that BIG credit card first), but they all involve having a plan. Whether you decide to wipe out the big ones first or work your way up from the bottom, it will be important to track your progress. Doing so will give you the emotional boost of watching the debt go down and allow for any changes in tactics (if the big one goes first, that means the smaller ones will follow quickly).
Also, try to pay more than the minimum payment. Not only will you get the debt paid off sooner, but you won’t have to deal with high interest fees.
- The Cut Backs
This part might seem simplest, as the holidays have ended and you probably won’t be buying gifts for anyone for at least a few months. Still, hitting financial goals means cutting back on expenses where you can, and the best way to do that is to make a budget.
We know; budgets are a pain to make and can fall apart if you don’t keep tabs on them. But keep in mind that budgets can change to meet new financial situations, so sticking to one can be just as much about improving your savings as it can be paying all the bills.
The simple answer? There’s an app for it. Locate a spending app that allows you to keep track of what you’re spending and what you’re saving. Finance resolutions work just like fitness resolutions; they succeed only when you want to do it, and the best way to make sure you do it is to enjoy it.
So how does one enjoy financial planning? By seeing how much you save. Give yourself easy goals to reach at first, like budgeting to save $100 in the first month and saving more each month.