New Years is a time to think of how to renew your goals and empower yourself with the tools to achieve them. Start thinking about your 2018 objectives now to better prepare for a financial plan of attack! And we’re here to help you accommodate all your resolutions with a few things to remember for that January budget:
1. Healthy food costs. One of your New Year’s goals may be to eat healthier. More fruits and veggies, fewer sweets—you know the drill. Local or organic foods can carry higher price tags. Adjust your grocery budget so Whole Foods doesn’t take your whole paycheck.
2. Tax advisor fees. Once 2017 is in the books, it’s time to take a look at your books—or have a tax pro do the work for you. Determine their cost and divide it by the number of months until your appointment so you have the fee money ready. Make that appointment ASAP so if you owe Uncle Sam, you have time to save.
3. Gym memberships. If you’re ready to join a gym and shed the holiday weight, good for you! The average cost is $58 a month. Don’t forget—the more trips you make, the more value you get! Shop around and find a gym buddy to keep you motivated.
4. Christmas savings. You’ve probably had your fill of Christmas for now. But next Christmas will be here before you know it, so begin planning now. Figure up how much you want to spend on gifts, decorations and travel. Then divide it by 12 and start stocking that amount away. Open a Holiday Savings Accounts and set up direct deposit so you don’t even know you miss the cash.
5. Organization tools. Many people make a New Year’s goal to get organized. That could mean purchasing shelves, buying an electric file organizer, or just doing some long-overdue cleaning.
6. Money goals. 2018 may be the year you pay down debt or top off your emergency fund. If your finances have gotten away from you, embrace the experts at your credit union to put you back on the road to financial recovery. We’d love to hear your story and figure out how we can tailor a healthy debt solution for you. Consider consolidating loans together so you only have one monthly payment instead of several. This way you’ll be able to budget for your expenses and save some too! Pacing yourself this way works wonders.
7. New experiences. Research shows you’re happier when you spend money on experiences instead of physical things like a car or sofa. Dream about your next big adventure, then take the “save a little each month” money approach. Open a Vacation Savings Account and direct deposit a portion of every paycheck so your travel bug expenses never sneak up on you.
8. New hobbies. You may be excited about going camping on the weekends or hiring a tutor to teach you a new language. Set some dinero aside and enjoy your new pastime!
9. Holiday bills. Maybe you indulged over the holidays—cookies, libations AND credit cards…OH MY! The first step in getting back on track is to write down the total amount of your credit card debt, your minimum payments and when they are due. You may also want to list your balances from lowest to highest and pay the smallest balances off first while paying the minimum on the rest of your debt, if you’re looking for the mental relief that comes with paying off each credit card. Or you can prioritize paying off the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate, while making minimum payments on your other ones, in an attempt to save on interest.
If you have big balances, you should also consider consolidating your debt. Take advantage of the credit union’s 0% credit card balance transfers for six months offer (payments are applied to pay off high-rate balances first).
The new year and your new monthly budget give you two things: a clean slate and a chance to do something awesome—like achieve your goals! Grab hold of the next year and do great things with it, one month at a time!
Tell us your financial resolutions in the comments.