As another year begins to wind down, it’s time to look ahead to the future in order to set both personal and professional goals for 2018. If 2017 wasn’t the best for your finances, there is no better time than the present to make a plan to get back on track. Whether you incurred unexpected debt, spent too much on unnecessary purchases, or didn’t save as much as you would have hoped, you have the ability to make the next year a better one.
Want to explore some of the best ways to get your finances in top shape? Here are three proven strategies for you to use in 2018.
If you don’t have one already, create a budget
In a 2013 Gallup poll, it was reported that two-thirds of Americans do not have a budget. When you don’t have a plan for your income, your finances can get out of control in a hurry. Creating a personal budget allows you to know exactly how much you can spend in various areas, and prevents you from overspending. Unsure of how to create a budget? Begin by listing out all of your monthly expenses, and subtracting those expenses from your household income. Then, decide how to spend all remaining income. To further protect your budget, use cash for all of your purchases. This step helps you avoid the temptation of overspending when using a debit or credit card.
Check your credit score
The Internet has made it incredibly quick, easy, and free to check your credit score. Because of this technology, there is no good reason not to know what your credit score is (or not to have an educated estimate of your current score). Why is knowing your credit score important when improving your finances? First, your credit score can motivate you to rapidly take action if you don’t like the number you see. If you’ve gone over your credit limit, haven’t made your payments on time, or are only making the minimum payment, your credit score can serve as a wake-up call. Additionally, even if you have a good credit score, looking for and removing inaccuracies from your credit report can quickly boost your score.
Eliminate wasteful spending
Modern life in America has made it easier than ever before to spend money on things you don’t need. Some of the most common things to waste money on include daily coffee beverages, dining out, credit card interest, gym memberships, and online purchases. If you are guilty of letting your money slip away on luxury purchases, 2018 can be a year of intentional spending. Start by assessing where you can cut back on spending on a weekly basis. Second, contact your cell phone provider, cable provider, and provider of any other monthly services to see if you can switch to a more economical plan.
Small steps can lead to big financial improvements in 2018
Depending on your current financial situation, the road to improvement may seem long. While this might be the case, taking many small steps is the only way to get where you want to go. As you set your budget, check your credit score, and eliminate wasteful spending, observe and appreciate the progress that you do make. It is through this progress that you can gain the motivation to stay on track and reach your financial goals in 2018.