Did you overspend during the holiday season? Are you feeling the “blue’s” of the new year? Or the “holiday hangover” effect from not only too much egg nog but from spending beyond your means? Don’t worry—most American’s have likely overspent and there is always opportunity to change. The new year can mean a new start and that is the most important step—to start, wherever you are, to change the behaviors so you can create a more financially sound version of YOU. Here are three tips to help you move along your path:
- Start automating your savings: Don’t leave this up to will power. With your first pay check of the year, open a secondary savings and start payroll deducting a small amount. Even $5.00 a week can help jumpstart a savings account. It may not seem like much, but over time, you’ll develop confidence that you can save money. Before you realize it, the $5.00 will increase to $10.00 per week, then $20.00 per week. Automating the process will make saving easier.
- Learn about financial wellness: When was the last time you took a class or read an article that taught you how to manage your finances? Chances are your employer may already offer a financial wellness program for which you may receive credit or points for participating in it. Additional knowledge is never a bad idea. As you learn how to better manage your own finances, your confidence will increase, and your financial habits will improve.
- Create a budget: Having a budget is THE most important thing you can do. At work, your employer tracks your efforts (input) and your results (output) to help them predict whether you will succeed in your job. A budget is the same thing; it helps you track your input vs. output. Your success is based on your ability to utilize, adapt, and manage your budget. Also, keep in mind that the amount you spend one month may be different than what you spend another month, so it’s important to make changes to the budget regularly.