With the new year rapidly approaching, now is the perfect time to assess your finances. Life may feel busy right now, but evaluating your financial situation and coming up with new goals can help you start the year off right. By making some changes, you can improve your finances and set yourself up for success. Here are five steps you can take:
1. Calculate how much debt you have
Having debt can be stressful, but ignoring how much debt you have will not be good for your financial health. With 2022 only weeks away, now is an excellent time to figure out how much debt you have. Take some time to outline all of your debt and the interest rates. This way, you can prioritize which debt you will focus on paying off. Working to pay off higher-interest debt first is a good plan if you want to pay fewer interest fees.
If you’ve been struggling to tackle your debt, this guide on how to pay off debt may be helpful. Once you eliminate your debt, you’ll have more flexibility to save for future expenses or invest.
2. Begin budgeting or rework your existing budget
So many people don’t budget because they think it will be too difficult to do or think a budget isn’t necessary. No matter your financial situation, having a budget can be helpful. If you already follow a budget but haven’t taken a close look at your spending habits recently, go ahead and do so. You may need to rework your budget and your spending goals.
If you’re brand new to budgeting, it’s easier than you might think. This guide will help you set up your first budget. Following a budget can help you reach your financial goals sooner and can minimize unnecessary spending and debt. Some people find that using budgeting apps makes it easier to follow a budget and track spending. You may want to give one of these apps a try!
3. Set financial goals for the upcoming year
Goals can keep you accountable. When was the last time you set financial goals? If it’s been a while, there’s no better time than now. Figure out what you want to achieve financially in the new year. Perhaps you want to establish an emergency fund, or maybe you wish to get out of credit card debt. Your goals may look different than those of the other people in your life, and that’s okay.
Once you outline your goals, you can figure out what steps you’ll need to take to reach your goals. If a goal feels too big, you can break it down into smaller actionable tasks, making your overall goal more achievable.
If you have extra funds sitting in your checking account, go ahead and move some of it over to your emergency fund or into a separate bank account for another savings goal. When you keep excess money in your checking account, it’ll be easier to spend — and you may wind up spending your extra money on unnecessary purchases.
If you set extra money aside where it’s out of sight, it’s more likely to be there when you need it for a future expense. Are you ready to open a new bank account for your savings? These are the best savings accounts.
5. Set up automated savings
Automating your savings is a smart way to ensure you follow your savings goals. Doing this can also save you time and ensure you don’t forget to save. Today’s financial apps and bank apps make it simple to automate your savings. You have complete control over savings automation. You can choose how much money you save and how often your automated withdrawals happen.
It’s a good idea to have your automated savings go into a separate savings account. You can easily transfer the money into your primary bank account when you need to access the funds.
By following these steps, you can set yourself up for financial success before 2022 starts. If you’d like more helpful tips, check out our personal finance resources.