It’s the New Year, and that means it’s time to make a thorough list of resolutions that you will (hopefully) get around to accomplishing by the end of 2014. Most people’s resolutions tend to revolve around weight loss or character development, while financial resolutions take a backseat. The start of the New Year is the perfect time to get your finances in order and begin being more fiscally responsible. Here are five suggestions to get your financial resolution list started.
- Make a monthly budget—and stick to it. Many people slip into debt after months of overspending on little things, never noticing how much it all adds up. To avoid this, set yourself a monthly budget, and don’t stray from it. Divide your budget into what you will spend on housing, utilities, groceries, credit card payments, and discretionary spending, like going to the movies or out to dinner. Websites like Mint.com are great for creating personalized budget goals and monitoring your spending to make sure you are meeting those goals.
- Pay down high interest debt now and make a long term plan to pay off your credit completely. Set some time aside to sit down and take a long look at your finances. Make a long-term plan to pay off your debt in the next, say, three to four years. Break it down into monthly payments, and make sure you keep up with them. Limit your credit card use as best as you can. For those who are less strong-willed, leaving your credit card at home (or in a frozen can of water in the freezer) will discourage you from using your card for every little purchase.