You’ve made it through another year. Now it’s the start of a new year and you’re no closer to your financial goals. Make this the year to change that. Start fresh and create a manageable plan that you can follow through on. Take your finances into your own hands this year and check out this checklist for some easy tips.
Track your finances
If you can’t say off the top of your head how much income you have coming in and what expenses you have, this is a problem. If you’re properly tracking your finances you’ll be able to pull this information up at any time to make adjustments. Start by using a spreadsheet or an app to input your income. Then, put in every outgoing expense and debt you have.
Set a goal
Once you’ve tracked all of your income and expenses, set a goal for something you want to see change. Maybe you want to save more or pay off some debt. Make a goal for the year-end and divide that up into subgoals to make it more manageable. You can then reference them throughout the year and see that you’re hitting your milestones.
Make a budget
Once your goal is set, you’ll need to start budgeting to hit your target. Look at your finance spreadsheet and see where you can cut something or invest more. Budget accordingly by month, week or day if you need to. There are several apps that can help you do this as well.
Now that you have everything laid out with a clear goal, action plan, and budget, it’s time to start saving. An easy way to do this is by automatically transferring money into your savings account every month. After a while, it will be so automatic you won’t even know it’s missing.
Review your will and beneficiaries
The end of the year or the start of a new year is also a great time to check that you have all of your financial documents in order. That may mean checking your will or making one if you never have. It can also be updating your 401(K), life insurance, real estate deeds or investment portfolios to add children, grandchildren or spouses as beneficiaries if those people have changed since you last opened them.