We talk so much at this time of year about resolutions. And I’ve already shared my thoughts on resolutions... HOWEVER, with personal finances (and money in general), the new year is actually a GREAT time to make changes in how you handle your money. You know, because the fiscal year has started over and it is the perfect time to hit “RESET” on our finances.
With that in mind, I wanted to share 7 (this is certainly not an exhaustive list) financial resolutions for you to take on this year!
I realize this is not the most fun of the tasks, but it could honestly be the most important. ESPECIALLY as you’re preparing for tax time and all that, the more you have already looked over and assessed ahead of time, the better.
Take a look at things like monthly spending habits – what areas did you spend more money on than others? Did you overspend in any particular area? Did you splurge on an unnecessary item or purchase? Did you save enough? What did your giving look like?
Take a look at positive things you did like paying off a credit card, a student loan, or starting a savings fund for college or retirement.
Really assess the things you did in 2015 and write it all down – the good, the great, the bad, and the ugly. Figure out what areas you did well in and what areas you would like to improve or do differently in 2016.
Yep, I’m harping on this one again… and the reason being? I STILL get emails from readers asking if they should do a monthly budget and / or HOW to do a monthly budget?
That’s OKAY! Everyone has to start somewhere… and the sooner you can get in the habit of really working on your monthly budget, the better.
This is another topic I’ve referred to many times and can’t be emphasized enough. SO many people I know have been victims of identity theft. Heck, my business account was hacked in 2015 and a bunch of random charges were made at college bookstores around the country. If I wasn’t regularly monitoring my accounts and my credit score, I NEVER would have caught those charges!
I love using Credit Sesame for monitoring my credit score in between pulling credit reports. I get alerts, monthly updates, etc. and I love that it has an app that I can refer to regularly. I know there are other credit monitoring apps, but Credit Sesame just happens to be the one I use and love.
And login to your bank account and check your charges… REGULARLY. If not daily, do it every couple days. That way, if you see a suspicious charge, you can deal with it ASAP!
Do you have your emergency fund already stocked up? I’m talking a bank account with 3-6 months of expenses put away. I’ve also talked about the importance of an emergency fund before and I can’t emphasize enough how much you REALLY, REALLY need to take it seriously. You have NO idea when something is going to come up. You don’t know when you’ll need to replace something on your car or fix something on your house or have an unexpected doctor’s bill.
And remember… the emergency fund is for that… EMERGENCIES. A new pair of shoes or handbag? NOT an emergency. So, once you have it saved up, you don’t touch it.
How much did you GIVE in 2015? Challenge yourself to give MORE than that in 2016. Giving is what really teaches us to appreciate and respect money. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE giving. Giving brings me more joy than I could ever get out of spending the money on myself.
Are you in debt? REALLY come up with a plan to tackle that debt this year and get OUT of debt. If you’re out of debt except for your mortgage, maybe consider a plan to tackle your mortgage and pay it off early!
Are you someone who usually waits until April 14th at 11:59pm to file your taxes? Or maybe you file 14 different extensions? Or maybe you just tend to file late? Resolve this year to do your taxes not just on time, but EARLY! Gather your documents, create your account online through TurboTax or Tax Act, or meet with your CPA / accountant and GET IT DONE.
You’ll feel SO much better about having it done and off your plate than looming over your head!