Finance Tips to Start the New Year

1. Set a Budget, Period

This is the starting point for every other goal in life. It is essential to establish a personal financial budget and then stick to it.

2. Consider an All Cash Diet

If you’re consistently overspending, this will break you out of that rut.

3. Take a Daily Money Minute

Set aside one minute each day to check on your financial transactions. This 60-second act helps identify problems immediately, keeps track of goal progress—and sets your spending tone for the rest of the day!

4. Allocate 20% of Your Income Towards Financial Priorities

Priorities mean building up emergency savings, paying off debt, and padding your retirement nest egg.

5. Budget 30% of Your Income for Lifestyle Spending

This includes movies, restaurants, and happy hours—basically, anything that doesn’t cover basic necessities. By abiding by the 30% rule, you can save and have fun at the same time.

6. Make Attainable Money Goals

The farther away a goal seems, and the less sure you are about when it will happen, the more likely you are to give up. So in addition to focusing on big goals (say, buying a home), aim to also set smaller goals along the way that will reap quicker results—like saving some money each week in order to take a trip in six months.

7. Check Your Interest Rate

Q: Which loan should you pay off first? A: The one with the highest interest rate. Q: Which savings account should you open? A: The one with the best interest rate. Q: Why does credit card debt give us such a headache? A: Blame it on the compound interest rate. Bottom line here: Paying attention to interest rates will help inform which debt or savings commitments you should focus on.

8. Spend on Experiences, Not Things

Putting your money towards purchases like a concert or a picnic in the park—instead of spending it on pricey material objects—gives you more happiness for your buck.

9. Start Saving for Retirement Now

Not next week. Not when you get a raise. Not next year. Today. Because money you put in your retirement fund now will have more time to grow through the power of compound growth.

10. Make Savings Part of Your Budget

If you wait to put money aside for when you consistently have enough of a cash cushion available at the end of the month, you’ll never have money to put aside! Instead, bake monthly savings into your budget now.

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