Financial Habits To Follow In 2018
Financial Habits to Follow in 2018
If you wish you had more money saved, less debt and more financial freedom, then begin reevaluating how you manage your money.
January is always a great time to start fresh and make positive changes for your future. You want to begin by analyzing your budget and spending plan. If you find your financial situation is not where you want it be, consider the following recommendations:
- Live Within Your Means
Do you have more going out than you have coming in? Are you carrying over credit card debt each month? If you have answered yes, then it is likely you may be living beyond your means. Begin tracking your expenses to identify spending leaks. Reduce expenses wherever possible and consider avenues to increase your income. It may take time to balance your budget, but it is absolutely necessary for your financial well-being.
- Pay Bills on Time
If you are not paying your bills on time, you are likely getting charged late fees and possibly damaging your credit. Late fees and a poor credit score end up costing you more in the long run. Develop a schedule of bills to be paid and align them with when you get paid. If you find all your bills are due at the same time, try to reschedule your due dates. Automating your payments is also a great way to be sure you are on time every month.
- Set up automatic savings
Saving every month can be challenging, especially when your budget is tight. Take a realistic look at what you have coming in each month versus what you have going out; remembering to budget for miscellaneous expenses such as entertainment, haircuts, hobbies, etc. Determine the amount you have left over and set up a plan to make automatic deposits into your savings account each month. By automating your savings, you will learn each month to live without that sum of money and have a nice chunk of change in your account by this time next year.
- Contribute to your retirement plan
As soon as you start earning an income, you should begin contributing to a retirement plan. If your employer offers a plan, take advantage of setting it up through them, especially if they have a matching program. If your employer does not offer a plan, set up an IRA account with your local financial institution. For those that are already contributing to a retirement plan, consider increasing the amount you are saving.
- Stay on track
Evaluate your budget monthly and use it as a tool to stay on track. Continuously set financial goals for yourself which should include having an emergency savings account and savings for the future. Before making a major purchase, consider if it will help or hinder your personal financial goals. Practicing good financial habits is a lifestyle and sticking with it will help ensure your financial freedom.
Lauren Lovett has been with Navicore Solutions for six years serving as a Certified Credit Counselor and Grant Writer. While in these roles, she has witnessed the positive impact that the organization's counseling services has on improving the money management skills and economic security of individuals and families in need.