While recovering from holiday spending, finances are usually top of mind. With the new year approaching, why not make positive changes to improve your financial health? Making small changes to your behavior are more sustainable in the long run – something you and your finances can benefit from. Here are a few easy proactive steps to consider to make financial resolutions towards 2018:
Start by examining your expenses
It has never been easier to track your spending with online banking and mobile apps. Mobile App can keep you up to date with your account history and balances while viewing eStatements on the go. Start by looking over your bank statements to better understand your spending habits. Over the past year, have you saved enough or spent more than you earn? Once you’ve determined how your money is being spent and how it should be spent, create short-term and long-term goals in tandem with a more focused outlook.
Create a budget and stick to it
Your budget is the greatest way to manage and control your finances, and it must align with your financial goals. Budgeting helps monitor your income and curb the way you spend money. Always differentiate between your needs and wants, and understand your needs are more important than wants. Track your expenses, spend less than you earn and avoid impulse buying. There are many budgeting tools available to assist with financial planning online.
Set saving goals
Saving is important when setting financial goals. Think about what you’d like to save for (college tuition, new car, a home) and consider how many months or years you must save towards a goal calculator to reach this goal. Once you create savings goals, stick to it until it becomes a way of life. With this new mindset, your finances will always be top of mind when making any decision.
Pull your credit reports
Federal law allows a free copy of all three credit bureau reports at annualcreditreport.com. Check for errors and ensure all of the loans and credit cards listed belong to you. Dispute any discrepancies as soon as possible.
Pay off credit card debt
How much do you spend each month on debt payments? Imagine how much extra money you could save if you paid off that debt. Determine the amount of time it would take in order to meet a debt payoff goal and make that a priority. Once you pay off that debt, only use your card if you can pay off the balance each month.
Sign up for identity theft assistance
Keeping your identity and financial information safe are a huge part of financial wellness. Keep your personal information and accounts safe with the help of ID Theft Assistance. Check with your financial institution as some offer their members or customers free or discounted services. Hawaii State FCU offers free ID Theft Assistance with our consumer checking accounts.
Make resolutions a family effort
Parents should be a positive influence on their children, but oftentimes bad money habits are passed down. Educate yourself how money works and talk to your family about finances and get them involved in household budgeting.
Keep yourself focused throughout the year by committing to your financial resolutions and make changes that benefit yourself and loved ones. In time, these small behavioral changes become a way of life and improve your financial wellness.