Monday, January 12, 2015

Kick Off Your New Year Financially Fit

A new year is a fresh start - a great time to make goals for yourself and your family. Whether you want to shed some holiday pounds, take a trip, get a promotion at work, or just work on your financial fitness, it’s important to have the tools and support you need to reach your goals! It’s important to all of us at Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union for you to reach these goals and we want to help you with these great tips on how to kick off 2015 financially strong.

Don’t live in the past, learn from it

It can sometimes be difficult to take a good look at what you did in the past that you need to improve on, but when it comes to reaching your new financial goals, it’s necessary. Look at your past monthly credit union (or bank) statements and credit card bills to find out where you spent the most and evaluate if it was necessary spending or not. Although it may be painful, it’s also a great idea to add up those “splurges” to figure out how much money could have gone towards paying down debt or to savings.

Start 2015 with a plan

It’s probably not how you want to spend an evening, but it will make the rest of the year much less stressful ­­ it’s creating a budget. Print out statements for all the accounts, bills, utilities, etc. you have to plan out your expenses. Then, record all your sources of income for the month. If you are self­employed, commissioned, or hourly, it’s best to round­down to estimate your income for the month, so there’s no unpleasant surprises at the end of the month. Also, estimate variable expenses like gasoline, groceries, tax payments, etc. Once you have completed these steps, you can come up with a balanced budget. To keep yourself on track throughout the year and to keep your budget accurate, it’s important to review it once a month to make any necessary changes.

Put your money where it matters

This is usually the hardest part for people ­­ saving instead of spending. Think about how much closer you’ll be to your long­term goals and happiness if you pocket that $50 instead of splurging on a new purse or night out. Also, focus on decreasing debt. Think about things you’ve spent money on that could have gone towards paying down a high­interest credit card or paying off your mortgage early? Delaying gratification is a great quality to have when it comes to having a budget or financial plan.

These three steps will kick off your 2015 financial plan the right way. Which ones are you going to put into action today? For more tips and tools check out Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union's Financial Education site.

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