New Year’s resolutions typically include goals of career building, losing weight, or kicking a bad habit. Often, our financial goals are overlooked. However, the new year is an opportune time to visit our budget and spending goals.
The following are a few items to help you get fiscally organized for 2017:
1) Total up your year-to-date spending – Whether you use paper or an online computer tracking system such as “Quick Books,” make sure you are “on budget” for the year. Software systems are great for categorizing expenses even if you utilize online banking. They are helpful in identifying where overspending may be occurring. Often, discretionary items such as “entertainment,” “gifts,” and “restaurants” are the areas where we spend too much. By reviewing last year’s habits, you can make the needed adjustments and corrections for the upcoming year, thereby reducing financial stress.
2) Review all subscriptions – Are these items truly being utilized and enjoyed? Are you still reading those magazines or listening to your satellite radio? If not, consider closing them out and freeing up funds for usage elsewhere.
3) Analyze landline, cell, and cable bills – Contact the customer service department at each of these providers and ask for assistance in making sure your usage coincides with your plan. Adjustments to the existing plan or a new one could save you money.
4) Check your life, home, auto, and health insurance coverage – An insurance analysis from two or three different agents representing highly-rated companies can identify whether your coverage is adequate, whether premiums are competitive, and if all potential discounts are being considered and applied correctly. Major life events such as marriage, a new baby, or a new home can necessitate the need for changes.
5) Get your credit report – You are entitled to one free copy from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) each year. It is best to stagger these reports to be delivered to you at different time periods throughout the year so that errors can be identified, caught, and corrected more efficiently and timely.
Here’s to a financially healthier New Year!