3 Financial Resolutions to make in 2017 AND how to Keep Them

Dec 30, 2016

What were the top New Year’s resolutions last year? You guessed it – stay fit and healthy and lose weight. (According to Nielson data.) We spend a lot of time thinking and scheming about how we can improve our physical health, but what about your financial health?

While the New Year season may be a strategic time to look at how you can improve your financial situation, holiday spending can also make planning a little painful. 

Here are three easy resolutions to start improving your money management next year.

Save More. 

When it comes to financial resolutions, this is where most folks start. Unfortunately saving money is easier said than done. Most financial experts suggest saving enough money to cover between three and six months’ worth of expenses. While a your household’s amount will vary depending on job prospects in your field, the local economy, presence of children, and a host of other factors, the steps to save remain largely the same.

Keeping the Resolution.

Pay yourself first. Don’t wait until the end of the month to put money into a savings account. Set up an auto payment or transfer from your checking into a separate savings account. Even better, check with your HR department and see if they can route a percentage or set amount from your paycheck into the savings account. After things are set up, resist the urge to continuously check the balance in the account or use it to temporarily “float” funds. 

Cut Excess Spending.

The easiest way to keep more of what you earn is to cut back on areas where you’re already spending money. Take a look at a three or four month’s worth of credit card or checking account statements, can anything can go? 

Keeping the Resolution.

Start by focusing on those “extras” that can quickly add up – monthly video streaming or cable services, gym memberships that aren’t being used, daily coffee habits.

We never want to bite the hand that feeds us….But monthly charges from your bank or credit card provider can add up if you’re not watching your account activity! If you’re being charged a monthly fee on a card, then make sure you’re using the perks that go along with those types of cards. If you’re not, then look into maintenance-fee free cards; there are quite a few. Are you receiving monthly maintenance or minimum balance fees on your checking account? If so, then it may be time to switch banks or account types. For example, our Basic Checking account does not require a minimum monthly balance to waive fees, and there’s no charge for having a debit card linked to the account. It’s a simple, go-to checking account and requires just $100 to open. 

Pay off Debt (But be strategic!)

Many of us start a new year declaring that we will “pay down” our debt. It’s a great goal, but can be a little lofty without a clear-cut approach. 

Keeping the Resolution.

Start by determining how much you can realistically afford to put towards a loan or credit card payment, and then decide which debt you should pay off first. Remember, not all loans or credit cards are created equal! For each type of debt, research the interest rate and any annual fees associated with the account. You’ll want to start by paying those off first.

MoneySync, our free account aggregation tool, makes determining which debt to pay off first easy. Add your accounts, and then the Debt tool will automatically tell you where to start. It’ll even let you create debt scenarios. For example, you can figure out how much sooner your house would be paid for by adding just $100 a month more to your mortgage payment.

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