Every year it’s the same result. January 1st I have a huge list of resolutions ranging from get in better shape to save more money. However, give it a week before I’m hitting the snooze button instead of heading to the gym. Although I’m still working on how to stick to my fitness goals for 2017, here are some quick tips to shape up your finances in the New Year.
- First and foremost, structure next year’s budget. Be strict on what you consider to be a ‘need’ and what you consider is a ‘want’. Be sure to look over bank and credit card statements to be certain you know how much you are spending. This budget will give an idea of what will be realistic goals.
- Pull your credit report to evaluate debt load – both secured and unsecured debts! Set up a power payment system to save both time and interest. Through this system, you pay the minimum payment on each of your monthly bills; however, any additional funds available should be used to pay down either the lowest balance debt or the debt with the highest interest rate. When an account is paid off, you continue to direct those additional funds to the account with the lowest balance or highest interest rate.
- Don’t forget to include contributions to savings in your resolutions! It is recommended that you have 3-6 months of living expenses in an emergency savings account. If you don’t, calculate how much you need to set aside each pay period to have 3-6 months’ worth of savings by the end of the year. If you already have that saved, great! Consider increasing your retirement contribution instead.
Strategies to be Successful
- Set SMART goals – goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time bound. This tool will help you focus on what you are working towards.
- Automate your resolutions to make success easier and more likely. Make payments on debts and transfers to savings an automatic transaction each pay period.
- Give yourself small rewards for accomplishments. Make sure these rewards don’t cause you to back track on your success. For example, don’t go on a shopping spree after paying off a credit card.
- Find a goal buddy to help keep you on track. Surround yourself with people who are accomplishing your financial goals. They will be able to mentor you as well as keep you accountable.
Need help setting a budget and goal for 2017?
Contact Apprisen to see how our certified counselors can help. To schedule an appointment call 1-800-355-2227 or visit our website http://www.apprisen.com to chat with a representative.