The New Year is always a time of resolution. It’s a time for fresh starts and renewed ambitions. This January thousands of consumers nationwide will be setting goals for their physical health and diet, but many will also use the New Year as an opportunity to tackle their financial goals for the coming year. According to our recent online poll that surveyed 217 consumers nationwide, we found that 64% of consumers resolved to pay down debt in the coming year, while just under 20% of people said they will begin building an emergency fund.
Though goals are an important first step in getting financially fit, they are just one part of the equation. Consumers are challenged every day with making tough financial decisions and in order to stay on track there are several key steps that consumers can take to set realistic goals that will help improve their financial health at any stage.
Spend a few hours going over receipts and bills from 2012 to form an accurate picture of your financial standing. Where did you overspend? Where is there room to cut? Can you afford a vacation in 2013? If you answer those questions now, you’ll be far less likely to overspend your budget later.
Set Smart Goals
Once you know where you overspent in 2012, you’ll be able to set achievable goals for yourself in 2013. Try to identify two or three practical goals that are incremental lifestyle changes. This will allow you to experience far greater success!
Track your Spending
Regardless of how well you managed your money in the past, it’s always important to track your spending. Know exactly where you spent each dollar. This will allow you to stay in control of your finances and within your budget for the coming year.
Look for a Path to Savings
Now that you have assessed your finances and developed a plan to manage your spending, it’s time to start looking for ways to stow away extra money. Building a savings account will help provide for your future and can serve as a financial buffer in case of an emergency.
Create a Budget and Stick With It!
Creating the budget is the easy part—now you have to stick to it! Don’t give in to the temptation to spend and don’t become lax! Reassess your spending habits on a regular basis and make adjustments as they are needed.
With these tools in hand, 2013 will no doubt be a bright financial year for all!