Can you believe 2018 is over?! We can’t either! Whether you’re ready or not, it is time to start preparing for the new year. That means it’s time to start thinking about your New Year’s Resolution! While you may be thinking of ways to lose weight, or setting personal goals, don’t forget to consider financial goals! To help you create those goals, we created a list of 5 tips to help you strengthen your finances.
Think Short and Long-Term
While the goal of making a resolution may be to better yourself this year, setting a goal that takes longer than a year is something to consider as well. The best way to do this is by setting a short-term goal that will help to build towards a long-term goal, or your ultimate goal. Setting small goals can help make sure you stay on track to achieve that bigger goal. As long as your goals are realistic, any goal should be easily achievable.
Consider Creating a Savings Goal
Whether you want to save for a vacation, create a cushion or put money aside for an emergency fund, creating a savings goal can help get you started on any of these things. If something were to happen to your car requiring maintenance, an appliance breaks and needs replaced, or a sudden illness sends you to the hospital, having savings on hand can alleviate some of the stress that would otherwise put you in a bind for the foreseeable future. You may not benefit from having savings built up right away, but you will likely be thanking yourself later. If you need help getting started, or want help along the way, opening an It Makes ₵ents! account may help. With this account, every time you use your debit card, the amount of your purchase is rounded to the next dollar and the cents are transferred from your checking to your It Makes ₵ents! account.
Create a Budget
If you have ever had bad spending habits in the past, this is a good way to start the new year on the right foot. You can start by looking at your monthly income. Tracking expenses will help you learn where you are spending too much money. If you think you will have a hard time tracking your budget, using our MoneyCentral feature available within online banking can help you to create an effective budget. It will also track expenses for you, making it easier to see where your money is going.
Eat Out Less
For those trying to lose weight and wanting to spend less money, eating out less often is the easiest way to do so. Not only is eating out more expensive than cooking for yourself, we tend to default to fast food if we’re in a hurry. By cooking for yourself you can save money and you eat healthier meals. And by eating healthier, you are working towards your weight loss goal. If you think you won’t have enough time to cook every day, cooking in advance for the week can help you avoid eating out with a healthier alternative to fast food. Check online for “meal prep” ideas, recipes and tips.
Attempt to Pay Off/Down Debts
Depending on how much money you have on hand, this may be more difficult for some than others. Set a goal to pay a set amount every month. If you’re trying to save money, this may not help short term, but long term you will save because in paying the debt off early, you will save by paying less interest overall.
When thinking of your New Year’s resolution this year, don’t overlook your finances! Decisions you make can set you up for future success or supply a much needed cushion. Even the smallest amounts saved can add up over time. You can even tie goals together to help achieve them. The goal is to set yourself up to be better off now than when you started and we believe everyone has the capacity to be financially successful. Good luck and Happy New Year!