Financial New Year’s Resolutions
Sometimes the onset of a new year is just what you need to motivate you to take control of your financial health and planning. Do you have any financial new year’s resolutions? Here are a few ideas of resolutions to set for 2024 if you don’t already have these in place:
- Create a budget – and stick to it: Seems simple, right? Developing a realistic budget that outlines your monthly income and expenses can be easy, but sticking to the budget is often where people fall short. A tip to stay on track throughout the year is to get into the habit of tracking your spending and regularly comparing it to your budget. There are plenty of digital and analog tools to help you track expenses, including Cutting Edge’s Insights tools within Online Banking. When you’re tracking your spending, you can quickly identify areas where you may be overspending and need to cut back or save more in another.
- Automate savings – and pay yourself first: It’s important to build savings into your monthly budget, and an easy way ensure that you are consistently saving is to set up automatic transfers to your savings, retirement, or investment accounts. Taking the “set it and forget it” approach to savings means you won’t forget to stash away funds each payday, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your savings adds up as long as you aren’t spending it.
- Establish an emergency fund – and save it for an emergency: This year you may resolve to start or replenish an existing emergency fund. It’s recommended to put away three-to-six months’ worth of living expenses in case of an unexpected emergency, such as job loss or illness that prevents earning income. Once you’ve saved up your emergency fund…leave it alone for when you may truly need it!
- Create or review and update a will and estate plans – and ensure that they are accessible when needed: Though it’s not always pleasant to think about, having your affairs in order should the worst happen is critically important to your survivors and loved ones. Double check to make sure your will, beneficiary designations, and estate plans are all up-to-date to reflect your current wishes – and make sure that if you have an executor, that they know where to find the relevant documents and resources upon your death. Please consider consulting an estate planner if you are unsure about what you might need or how to get started.
- Negotiate your bills – and don’t be afraid to switch servicers for savings: Kicking off a new year is a great time to try negotiating bills such as cable, internet, insurance, and other recurring expenses. Finding ways to reduce these costs – including switching providers – can help you save big bucks throughout the year!
- Schedule regular financial check-ups – and make adjustments as needed: Commit to a time each month to discuss finances and goal progress with a spouse or roommates. Though finances can be an uncomfortable or emotional topic to discuss, they will become less so as you regularly check in to make decisions together, update goals, or make spending or budgetary adjustments as needed. 2024 can be your year to break the money talk taboo and make progress for your household’s financial health!
Remember that the key to successful financial new year’s resolutions is to set realistic and achievable goals, and taking manageable steps to achieve them – no matter how small! Don’t forget that all of our staff at Cutting Edge are certified financial counselors, and have the training and expertise to help you create a plan to stick to your resolutions this year. Contact us to learn more or set up a coaching appointment. Happy New Year!