With the holidays behind us, many are feeling the need for New Year’s resolutions as we look forward to 2018. Here are four resolutions you can make this New Year to begin whipping your finances into shape!
Start a budget and stick to it.
It's the perfect time to sit down and compare what you're spending and what you're bringing home each month. Think about what you'd like to save, buy, or pay off in 2018 and then make a plan to stash more away and possibly even cutback in some areas. Start by listing your monthly expenses (even those one-time expenses like Christmas that you can allocate money towards every month) and then decide what changes you can make to free up money every month.
Create an emergency fund.
Think about how much you have in savings. Do you have enough saved to get you by if you were out of work for a few months? The ideal emergency fund will cover a minimum of three months' worth of living expenses, but even an emergency fund of $1,000 will help you weather problems as they arise. This safety net will be there for those unexpected expenses like insurance deductibles, car trouble, or any other "emergency" situation.
Don't throw money out the window.
We're all guilty of throwing money away one way or another… There's that pesky unused gym membership, those loaves of bread you throw away half eaten, and even the satellite service you're never home to watch. Why are we spending money on these things when we're not getting any benefit from them? Now's the time to figure out where your hard earned money is going and how to make sure you're spending it wisely.
Commit to a weekly no-spend day.
Incorporating a no-spend day could be quite healthy. If you find yourself stopping at the coffee shop every day or swinging through to grab a burger on a whim… it can really add up. By adding a no-spend day each week, you have 52 days in the year that you are eliminating unnecessary spending. Your no-spend days may actually include gas and groceries, but the key is to only buy what you need and nothing else. You can start small. Pack a lunch and drink coffee from the office instead of the coffee house down the street. After work, head home and eat the groceries you already have instead of stopping by the store or grabbing fast food.
It might not be fun cutting back, but the short-term sacrifices are worth building a better financial future for you and your family. It won't happen overnight so start small, stick with the plan, and it'll be worth it.
Happy New Year!
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