Many people make New Year’s resolutions to eat better, exercise more, or lose weight. Those are all great goals, but if you are making goals for the new year, don’t forget to also add financial resolutions, like budgeting and saving, to your list. Planning ahead to make 2018 a great year by budgeting and by actually taking steps to make your goals a reality will help you start 2018 on the right financial footing.
4 Tips for Budgeting in 2018
1. Get organized.
Start with a realistic look at how much money you make and what your fixed monthly expenses (mortgage or rent payment, car payment, utilities, etc.) are. This is the first step in identifying how much you have left over every month to spend on things like entertainment and dining out, and how much you can afford to save for longer-term financial goals, such as buying a new car or house. You can use spreadsheets to help with this task, or you can use a tool like Quicken or Intuit Mint to record your cash inflows and outflows and create a budget. You can also use free mobile apps such as Every Dollar to keep your budget at your fingertips.
2. Take a careful look at your spending.
A big part of budgeting for the new year is taking a realistic look at where you are spending your money now, so you can identify ways to cut back in 2018. If you are spending more than you earn, this step is critical in helping you get your finances back in line. Even if you have some “leftover” money at the end of every month, this step can help you identify other areas where you may be able to trim your spending without significantly impacting your lifestyle.
3. Pay down credit card debt.
If you owe money on a credit card or high-interest loan, make a plan to pay off or to significantly reduce the amount you owe in 2018. By attacking your debt deliberately, you will be able to make real progress toward eliminating it.
4. Treat saving like a monthly expense.
If you have a hard time setting money aside in savings, try treating your savings account like a bill that has to get paid first, right along with your housing and other regular monthly expenses, before you have discretionary spending money. If you aren’t able to set aside 10% of your income in savings yet, set aside what you can and increase the percentage over time. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to set a certain amount from your paycheck to be automatically deposited into your savings account every pay period. As they say, if you don’t see it, you won’t miss it!
Now that 2018 has arrived, it is time to start keeping your resolutions. To learn more and to explore how Mercer Savings Bank’s products and services can help you reach your financial goals for the New Year, stop by any of our branches in Celina, Ft. Recovery or Greenville, or contact us online today.