3 Ways to Get Ahead of Your Finances in the New Year
The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on your financial situation. A review of the previous year can uncover habits that either served you well or set you back. Here are a few places to start as you look back and plan for the future.
#1 – Make a budget for your basics.
Did your bills tend to sneak up on you last year? Or did your grocery bill seem to push higher and higher? Start your budget with your necessities (mortgage/rent, utilities, TV/internet, groceries, etc.) For the most part, these are fixed costs that you must account for first.
#2 – Save for bigger, planned expenses throughout the year.
You’ve got your essentials covered. Now, were there any larger expenses you incurred last year that will carry over to this year? Think auto insurance, gifts, personal care (haircuts, dental work, etc.), medications, and pets/kids. Write out the costs you know you will incur and the months in which they fall. If you divide by 12 and save monthly, when that expense rolls around, you will have no stress.
#3 – Review your interest rates.
How much did you pay in interest? Have you reviewed your rates recently? If you have a high-rate personal loan or credit card, you may be able to refinance into a lower rate loan you already hold or transfer the balance to a new loan with a lower rate. A lower interest rate allows you to save monthly now and long term.
Ready for more? Try BHFCU's budgeting tool in Online and Mobile Banking!