The new year always feels like a fresh start – it’s the season to get in shape, eat healthier, and spend more quality time with loved ones. But don’t forget about your personal budget. The approach of the new year means it’s time to get your budget in order too, so that the next twelve months will be productive and stress free. Read on for some great tips on how to plan your personal budget for the new year.
Set Financial Goals for your Personal Budget
A successful year starts with a list of clear, achievable goals. Be specific! If you want to reduce your debt, how much do you want to reduce it by? $1000? Or 50%? Get specific. Or do you want to be debt free? Having a clear goal makes it easier to track your progress along the way. Here are some other great goals to consider:
- Don’t add any new debt – paying off debt can be hard, but not adding any additional debt can be the first step to financial freedom.
- Stick to a monthly budget – think about what you really need to spend each month on housing, bills, and food. Budget in a little extra for emergencies and fun. Set the $ amount and stick to it!
- Saving for the future – it’s always a bonus to have an emergency fund – you never know when the microwave is going to die, or if your kid will break his arm. In addition, maybe this year is finally the year you can start saving for retirement!
Find Some Things to Cut Out
Do you really need five magazine subscriptions, or that daily soda or coffee? Maybe you can skip the gym membership and start going for runs around the block instead. If you eat out a lot, pack a lunch once or twice a week. A few dollars here and there can add up to hundreds, or even thousands by the end of the year. If you closely track your spending, you can see exactly how much you’re spending on incidentals without even realizing it.
Make Budgeting a Part of Your Day to Day Routine
This means keep track of everything you spend, every day. It might be hard to face facts at first, but if you want to make a real difference, this is an essential step. Use a spreadsheet, or find an app that works for you. There are lots of free online tools to help you figure out your finances.
Mark Some “No Spend Days” on the Calendar
If you’re a sucker for new movies, and like dining out on the weekends, try a No Spend Saturday once a month. Get out there and find some fun and free activities in your community, and bring along family and friends. In addition to having a great time, you’ll save money in the process!
Work on that Credit Score
With the right habits, your credit score will only grow! Make credit card and loan payments on time, don’t max out your limit, and try to make at least a little more than the minimum payments each month. Figure out the debts with the highest interest rate and pay those off first. It’ll save you tons in interest.
Don’t miss out on a chance to really make a positive change. You’ll be surprised how even the smallest adjustments in your finances can add up to big money later. Money doesn’t have to keep causing you stress in the coming months. Set goals that you can achieve, make a budget and stick to it, and cut unnecessary costs without missing out on fun. Make this year the year that you’ll get your finances straight!