Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year again where many of us use this time to reflect on our past and look forward to the future by committing to the various resolutions that will get us there! Dare I say it, New Year, New You! From vowing to exercise more, to cleaning out clutter, to even promising to cut back on some of your expenses, it’s a time of year where change is in the air!
Speaking of change, with the financial impacts that many of us have experienced, this is as good a year as any to change up how we’re managing our finances, and maybe even do an inventory of your finances. Here are a few tips to help kick start your plans.
Creating a Budget or a Spending Plan
Since Budgeting tends to have such a negative connotation, we want to encourage you to get started with perhaps reviewing and or establishing a Spending Plan. Why is creating a spending plan so important, you may ask? Well, it’s simple… no matter how high your income may be, effective financial planning is vital to making sure you don’t spend more than you earn. Developing your spending plan, can also help you better track how and where your money is going. I know that may sound silly, as many of us tend to think we know where our money is going, but I challenge to think about it… do you really have every expense, every purchase, every ATM cash withdrawal accounted for? At the end of the day, it’s making sure you account for what goes in and what goes out.
So, New Year, New Spending Plan is a great way to prepare for the months ahead. With just a little planning, you can get your year off to the best financial start.
Get Started with Goal Setting
The first step to beginning your spending plan process is to set up some financial goals. Deciding on both short and long-term targets you want to achieve, then write them down in order of priority, and most importantly follow them.
Part of goal-setting also involves deciding between your needs and your wants, which no surprise, is also part of establishing your spending plan. We recommend you begin with fixed expenses such as your mortgage, utilities, car loans, and minimum payments on credit card bills. Next, take into account variable expenses such as groceries, gas, clothing, and entertainment, these are the areas that you can look at cutting back to reduce your expenses. Start today by coming up with some ideas about how you’re going to work towards those goals and aim forward!
Protect Your Finances
Before the year ended, we introduced a few ways to keep your finances safe and is something we encourage you to stay diligent on. Start with reviewing and perhaps even changing your account passwords. Updating your passwords can be a quick and easy way of making it even more challenging for imposters to access your information. From bank accounts, to retailer accounts, to health apps, change it up (but make sure you use different passwords from account to account).
If you haven’t already, another safe step you can take is to enable two-factor authentication, which offers you double peace of mind that you’re protecting your information and accounts from being compromised.
There are also a variety of resources available with most financial institutions, such as account alerts, card management features, security enhancements and more.
So, no matter where you are on your financial journey, take advantage of the time of year and make the necessary changes that work for you! Remember, no one spending plan is the same, and it is ever changing and ever evolving. Set up your financial goals and reward yourself along the way for your successes. And don’t forget, taken inventory of your accounts, your passwords and your security features to ensure you are managing your finances safely and securely.
For additional tips and resources, visit our Financial Education page to find live webinars, on-demand videos, financial calculators and more!