There are a variety of Near Year’s resolutions that people set from year to year. Whether it’s living a healthier lifestyle, finding more time for your favorite hobbies, or improving your economic situation, it should be something you strive to achieve all year long. For those of you looking to reach new financial goals in 2019, here are a few places to start:
Write Out Your Goals
Before you start on your journey to better financial health, it’s important to decide what areas are most important to you. Are you looking to purchase a home? Buy a car? Finish your education or degree? Forbes suggests that creating goals are best when they’re specific. Each goal is unique in its own way, and every goal can be reached with a proper plan in place. Work with a friend, family member, or financial advisor if you’re having trouble on where to focus first.
Keep Track of All Expenses
Documenting your spending habits is an effective way to see where your money is going. You can track these on a spreadsheet, in a journal, or through a financial app, and the act of physically writing down or entering them keeps you mindful and encourages positive changes. Review these on a monthly basis and see if there are areas you can spend less on or to which you can allocate any excess funds.
Set Up and Emergency Fund
It’s hard to know when you’ll need more money that you initially planned. Medical bills, car repairs, child care, and home maintenance are all areas to keep in the back of your mind. Setting up an “emergency fund” is a way to prepare for these types of expenses. Put a small amount of money into it each month, and do not touch the savings until you really need it. This is an extremely beneficial tip for new homeowners as furniture, appliances, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and more begin to add up.
Stick to Your Budget
This may be difficult at first, but if you’re serious about becoming more financially responsible, it’s a must. As a rule of thumb, try to spend less money than you earn. In doing so, you can create a surplus that is available for random expenses, higher bills, or other necessities. You can also decide on a target amount to put into your savings account each month. With this goal in place, it’s an additional way to stay conscious of your budget. Practice makes perfect when it comes to establishing good money habits, so start early to avoid issues down the road.
Try to Not Create Any New Debt
For those that have just purchased a home, car, or another large item, focus on paying it off as soon as you can. Commit to borrowing little to no money, and avoid using credit cards if possible. To ensure you’re hitting payment dates on time, try automating transfers from your checking or savings accounts to the needed billing areas or institutions. This can help save time and ease the burden of remembering all of your payments. On top of that, it will help avoid any late fees if they apply.
While these tips can help you start 2019 strong, maintaining the health of your bank accounts and financial situation are year-round responsibilities. Whether budgeting, planning, or setting goals for the future, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services offers additional services—like financial literacy programs and workshops—to help you create life-changing milestones. For additional information on these courses and more, reach out to us at [email protected], call (510) 237-6459, or visit us on Facebook.