5 Easy Financial Tips to Start the New Year off Right

By SDCCU , 12.31.2018 Financial Education
Person holding a pen while budgeting their finances 5 Easy Financial Tips to Start the New Year off Right
The New Year is a time for resolutions and commitments to changing for the better. It’s the perfect time to begin the year on the right financial foot by prioritizing your personal finances and building smart habits. As you think about your goals, consider the following five easy financial tips to start the New Year off right.

Step #1: Get Organized
Why wait until spring cleaning to start purging? Start early and go through any old receipts and paperwork you may not need. The first rule in preventing identify theft is: if you don’t need it, shred it!
Getting organized and knowing where all your important documents are is such a great feeling. Get a jump on things and get organized early on to maximize your productivity!

Step #2: Set a Goal
You won’t be able to hit your target if you don’t know what you are aiming for.  Is there a trip you have been wanting to take or a new shiny car you have been wanting to buy?  Focus on one or two goals for the year so you don’t lose sight of what it is that you want to accomplish. Having clear, achievable goals will help you stay motivated and help keep you accountable. Also consider looking for stable, secure investments that can help you reach your goals faster.

Step #3: Create a Budget
Review your financial situation and look at your income compared to your debt to gain a better understanding of your monthly expenses and discretionary income. Once you have a clear financial picture, look for ways to lower your expenses, such as refinancing loans or doing a balance transfer to free up additional funds that you can use to save towards your financial goals.

Step #4: Pay Off Debt
Take advantage of current low rates and aim to pay off your highest interest debt first. Many people make the mistake of making additional payments or paying off car loans with interest rates of 4-5 percent when they have credit cards charging them 15 percent monthly!
Once your high-interest debt is taken care of, you can use the extra cash to pay off debt with lower interest rates. Prioritize tackling the high interest debt to save money in the long run.  

Step #5: Stick to It
When developing strong financial wellness habits, it can be easy to fall off the wagon early on, but stick with it.  If you have a good friend or spouse to hold you accountable, the probability of hitting your goal is a lot greater.  If you don’t have someone to back you up, look into joining a club or group with people who are interested in learning about saving and making money. Also, reward yourself from time to time to celebrate your accomplishments – within your budget.  It will help you stay motivated and encourage you to continue making progress.

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