Each and every year many of us fall into the same cycle: Our good intentions fall by the wayside and near the end of the year the frenzied spending of holiday hype leads to the crash and burn of bills come January.
Start a fresh financial page as we turn the calendar and tackle the new year, with our top 5 New Year’s financial resolution tips:
Review last years Finances: Evaluate how your finances have fared over the last year. Did you take on more debt? Pay off credit? Overspend, or manage to save? Take note of what worked and what didn’t. Sometimes in order to look forward, you’ve first got to look back.
Make a Spending Strategy: Map out a clear path for your incoming and outgoing funds. Sort out your budget, bringing your spouse and other relevant family members into the planning and set some clear monetary goals that you want to achieve. If you already have a budget, check-in and adjust as necessary – budgets do need to be tweaked from time to time.
Prioritize Savings: The number of Canadians saving money on a regular basis is alarmingly low. Lacking savings is a sure-fire way to wind up in financial hot water if (read: when) a fiscal emergency comes up. Pay yourself first by setting up an automatic withdrawal into a savings or other investment account; if the money’s not sitting in your day-to-day bank account you won’t miss it!
Design a Financial Plan: Think about the “big picture” – beyond budgeting – when it comes to your financial affairs. Kids going to college? Do you have a life insurance policy and a will in place? How much will you realistically need for retirement? If you don’t already have a financial planner now is a great time to consult one.
Reduce your Debt: Regardless of how much debt you have, aim to lower it this year. As interest rates and living costs continue to rise, that debt will become harder and harder to manage. If your debts are demanding the lion’s share of your income or the time needed to pay them off is overwhelming then seek professional debt management assistance.
Whether you’re embarking on a whole new financial outlook, or trying to get motivated all over again, the “January realities” can really help drive home the need to freshen things up economically. Happy New Year!