A new year provides a great opportunity to press the reset button on your financial goals. Whether you are continuing your current resolutions or initiating new ones, here are some strategies to help boost savings and curb expenses in 2018.
Set specific goals
Sabah Karimi, contributor to the “Money” column of U.S. News, stresses the importance of making your budgeting resolutions as clear as possible. Write down your top five goals for the year. This could involve growing a travel fund or reducing the amount you spend on entertainment each month.
Prepare for the unexpected
One of the easiest ways to get off course with financial goals is if an emergency hits and you don’t have the adequate funds to cover the associated expenses. Whether it’s an unforeseen surgery, a flooded basement or pricy car repairs, an emergency fund is essential to staying on track with your financial goals. Katie Brewer, Certified Financial Planner and founder of Your Richest Life, recommends that you establish an emergency savings account with a different bank than you have your checking account with, so you’ll be less likely to dig into this fund.
Take advantage of an option that your bank or your workplace offers: automatic deposits into your savings account. This will make it easy to consistently contribute to your saving goals without the hassle of having to manually transfer funds. Per Karimi, you can also ask your bank if you can divide your savings account into separate categories (e.g. a car repair fund, emergency fund or a holiday shopping fund).
Use modern resources
Budgeting for your monthly costs is easy when you use a budgeting software or app. Brewer recommends Mint and YNAB (You Need a Budget). Several superb apps also worth checking into are PocketGuard, Mvelopes and GoodBudget.
Update your debt reduction goals
New Year’s is a great time to revisit your goals for curbing personal debt. Andrew Schwartz, Certified Public Accountant with Investopedia.com, suggests making a new strategy for putting extra money toward your mortgage payment each month. Even if you’re not a home owner, you can definitely apply this same principle toward school loans or credit card debt.
Rejuvenate your retirement funds
An important goal should be to allocate a set amount toward retirement each month. According to Schwartz, you should incorporate your retirement savings into your monthly expenses to ensure that you are saving enough in this category.
Join an accountability group
Trent Hamm, contributor to U.S. News’ Money column, recommends joining a money buddy group. This can be a group of friends, coworkers or family members that share financial advice, product discounts and budgeting tips with each other. Merging forces with others trying to live out their New Year’s financial resolutions will help you stay on track with your own.
Enhancing your financial health is easy when you equip yourself with the tools, resources and practices you need to make steady progress toward your monetary goals. Enjoy a prosperous New Year and save more this year by applying these simple strategies.