New Year, New You, and a Renewed Budget!
2018 is fast approaching, providing the perfect opportunity to hit the “reset” button on your budget, particularly if you’ve faced unexpected financial problems this past year. Getting back on track can feel like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. Better Money Habits outlines six simple steps to follow on the road towards regaining control over your finances.
1. Get back to basics
The first thing you should tackle are your day-to-day expenses. Tactics to do so include:
- Creating shopping lists for groceries and personal care items to avoid making impulse buys.
- Sleep on purchases before buying to consider whether it’s really, truly necessary.
- Use cash instead of credit cards to buy things.
- But, if you do use credit cards, make sure you can pay off your purchases immediately, even if you have until the end of the month to make a payment.
- Track your spending to see where your money goes and where you might be able to cut back. Do you really need that daily breakfast sandwich from the café across the street from work?
2. Make a list
Write out points of stress from your finances, and break each point of concern into two or three actionable steps. For example, here’s how to attack different types of debt.
3. Revisit your household budget
You’ve probably made a household budget at some point, but it may have been awhile since it’s been updated. This is a good time to do so, keeping the points of stress you identified in step 2 in mind.
If you skipped step 1 of tracking day-to-day expenses, start there. Then, evaluate nonessential costs after you’ve determined what’s absolutely necessary – things like utility bills, mortgage payments, medical expenses, etc. Look for categories you can cut back on or eliminate for the time being to free up money to put towards getting back on track.
4. Use technology to help
From budgeting apps for both iPhones and Androids to automated transfers to motivational support, technology can be a huge help in keeping you on track towards regaining financial stability. Consider taking the America Saves Pledge, and we’ll send you information on how to pay down debt, establish an emergency fund, and other integral pieces in getting back control over your money.
5. Make it a team effort
Letting family and friends know that you’re trying to stick to a budget can help them help you. They can hold you accountable to your identified goals, both by suggesting more cost-effective options of having fun when you get together, for example, and by asking you if you really need that new jacket you’re tempted to buy.
6. Remember that it’s okay to slip up
The road towards any defined goal is unlikely to be a straight upward path of progress. If you splurge a bit, simply see when you’ll be able to set aside a little extra to make up for the slip-up.
Let America Saves help you get your finances back on track. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn't stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.
If 2017 surprised you with unanticipated financial obstacles, check out these 6 steps from #BetterMoneyHabits on how to get your finances back on track: http://bit.ly/2BSO7nE
- Written by Madalyn Pemberton
- Category: Blog
- Published: 07 December 2017