Who says resolutions have to start on New Year’s Day? Get yourself started whatever day you feel inspired. Here are few important financial goals that you can begin whether it’s January 1, August 1 or a random Tuesday in November.
#1: Look at the Financial Big Picture – Use Our Family Budget Worksheet
You feel like you’re doing well financially. You pay this bill and that bill. Direct deposits come in on a timely basis. You may even have a little bit savings left at the end of each month. But are you really seeing your whole financial picture?
We got you through the holiday season on a spending plan. And now we’re going to help you plan for a fresh start in a new year with this downloadable monthly family budget worksheet. Use this worksheet to get a clearer view of what’s going on with your income and expenses. With this budget template, you’ll see, in black and white, just how much you’re spending each month, exactly how much money remains at the end of each month, and what opportunities are available to cut back on expenses.
#2: Build An Emergency Savings – Start Small and Keep Growing
Make it a goal this year to build a solid emergency savings. These are funds you can use if unemployment or a medical emergency cut down on your monthly income. When you focus on emergency savings, you should work towards saving enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses.
Start out by putting away a small amount each month. Can you manage $100 each month? As an end goal for the year, try working up to about 10% of your monthly income.
#3: Focus on Retirement Planning – Whether You’re a 20-something or a 40-something
Make your retirement a priority, no matter what stage of your professional life you’re in. If you’re starting out in the workforce, it’s ok to go slow, you’ve got time on your side. One thing to think about in your 20s is that you are making the most of your company’s 401K match. This is basically free money being invested in your future. Consider bumping up your contribution to the full amount that your company will match.
In your 30s and 40s, think about taking things to the next level. Consider adding an IRA or another investment program to your company-provided 401K. Also, look at upping your contribution amount as your salary grows with each new position or pay raise.
#4: Take Baby Steps – A Little Goes a Long Way
It doesn’t take a huge lifestyle change to save extra money each month. Here are a few small, easy to implement money resolutions to consider in 2015:
- No more late fees – If late fees are haunting you, set-up automatic bill-pay
- Tackle just one spending category – This where the family budget worksheet can be a big help. Start with one category (your morning coffee-run, dining out, or online shopping) and try to cut down on spending throughout the year
- Study your bank fees – Are you surprised by some of the things your banking institution is charging you for? Dropping below a minimum account balance, losing your debit card, requesting a paper statement or historical statements, talking to a human teller (!) or a vague monthly maintenance, are all fees charged by some banks. You may want to read up on how credit unions operate differently than banks.