It's a new year and that can mean a fresh start for your finances! Beginning the year with a check of your finances can provide a clear outlook to the future and give you the opportunity to make positive changes to your financial situation. From making sure your budget is on track to creating a savings plan, you'll be well on your way to achieving your financial goals, First National Community Bank has provided the following helpful tips to check your finances to make sure they are on track to start the new year off on the right foot:
- Review Last Year’s Budget: Reviewing last year’s budget and determining if it needs to be adjusted for the new year is simple. Take a look at what you spent and where you spent it last year and what you anticipate your income and expenses to be this year. Also, take a hard look at expenses that you anticipate for the upcoming year, such as a new car purchase, home repairs, etc. so you can be sure to build those expenses in as well as save for a rainy day. Think of your budget as a road map that shows exactly where you are in terms of monthly income and expenses. It will show you how much money is available to spend and save each month -- and importantly -- if you are on track. A budget also helps you monitor and track your financial progress. Perhaps the most important part of your budget is updating and monitoring it regularly to ensure it remains on track—especially at the beginning of the new year!
- Review & Set Goals: Did you achieve last year’s financial goals? Do they apply this year or do they need to be re-set? Setting financial goals helps give you direction and something to work towards. Making a plan to achieve your goals is important and can range from paying off your credit cards, saving for a home or large purchase to building an emergency fund. Be sure to celebrate your progress along the way as you reach your goals, remembering to be mindful of the amount you spend.
- Analyze Debt Repayment: Strategically paying off debt is a crucial step toward achieving financial success as debt can severely limit your financial freedom. It is important to have a plan in place to tackle it effectively or adjust it so you can get out of debt in the new year. There are several solutions for paying down your debt such as making more frequent payments, paying more each month or lowering your interest rates. This will help you get your payments under control and will help you get ahead of debt. It is also important to think about your habits when using your credit card and when considering your total debt situation. Are you quick to use your credit card for purchases that you may not be able to afford? Are you in the habit of only making minimum payments on your credit card balances? Making a list of each credit card, the respective interest rate and current balances, along with future planning on which expenditures you anticipate putting on a card and a reasonable timeframe for paying off what you owe are critical to paying down your debt.
- Evaluate Your Saving Strategy: Are you saving enough to live comfortably and attain your financial goals, including your retirement? Take a look at automating your savings by setting up an automatic transfer. If you already have automatic transfer set up, evaluate and consider increasing the amount you are transferring/saving. By automating savings and sticking to a budget you will learn how much money you have to work with, the amount that is going out each month for bills and expenses and how much you can devote to your goals from each paycheck. Also, in case of an emergency, these funds can be accessed and serve as an emergency fund. January is also a good time to take a look at your 401(k) and the amounts you are contributing and also consider other savings products that can grow your money such as a CD, IRA and/or Money Market Account.
A simple check of your finances can help improve your financial situation in the new year and beyond. As your locally owned community bank of choice, the success of your financial future is top of mind. We offer Personal Checking Accounts, Money Market, Personal Savings Accounts, CDs, IRAs, Business Loans, Mortgages and Personal Loans of all shapes and sizes and much more! To learn more about First National Community Bank’s financial solutions, visit: fncbank.com