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Achieving financial success does not happen overnight. It takes planning and discipline to stick to a budget and use your money wisely. However, sometimes those changes that need to be made don’t always have to be big ones. Small changes over time can make a major impact on your finances. Rather than setting a new year’s resolution that you will only stick to for a short period of time, set some realistic financial goals that can continue for years and years to come.
Tip 1) Budget
You hear the word often when it comes to saving money, but what does it look like applied to your life? First you need get an idea of what you are spending monthly. That includes big things like mortgage/rent, groceries, and gas. But it also includes expenses like subscriptions, eating out, your morning coffee run and shopping. You cannot set a realistic budget if you aren’t looking at your expenses all across the board. Look at your expenses and decide what necessities are and what your ‘wants’ are. Try to find areas that you can cut costs and set limits on those categories. This is a great start to creating an effective budget.
Tip 2) Set aside money every month
Putting money into your savings account every month can be a daunting task. A good practice is to set aside something each month even if it’s a small contribution. The amount you set aside can change on a month to month basis depending on unforeseen expenses like car troubles or an unexpected doctor visit. If your income allows, aim to put at least 10-15 percent of your paycheck into a savings account or emergency fund.
Tip 3) Review your credit card statement
Often you get into a routine of paying off your credit card and not really looking at all the transactions that are happening. Look over all the automatic payments that are happening on a monthly basis. Are you using these platforms and getting your money’s worth? Are there some subscriptions you could do without? Another financial resolution you can set is to utilize your credit card rewards. Often credit card companies will have cash back rewards that will put money right into your pockets. Make sure you review the card you currently use or even look into new cards that could benefit you in big ways.
Tip 4) Invest *
Saving money is important, but so is having your money grow. Investing money does come with more risk than putting money into a savings account but it also comes with reward. Investing your money allows it to build over time and increase without having to take much action. There are many ways to invest including stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts. Another way to invest is to check the benefits your employer offers and make sure you are taking advantage of any matching contributions.
Tip 5) Focus on paying off debt
If you have debt that means you have interest. The longer you delay paying off your student loans or car payments means you are paying more in the long run with interest. Prioritize making all your minimum payments on time to avoid late fees. There are many ways to look at paying off your debt. One way is paying off the debt with the highest interest first to get rid of that major burden. Another is to pay the smallest debt first to start getting the debt completely crossed off your list.
* Investment products Are: Not FDIC Insured | May Lose Value | No Bank Guarantee
Note: West Bank does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.