It’s the new year, time to create family finance resolutions, revisit your financial habits, make new goals, and start anew! It’s a great opportunity to create a brand new budget, reorganize, and gain control! Every year, I post a list of personal finance resolutions for the New Year. This year, I’m reposting from last year, with a few additions.
Review your budget. It’s best if you compare your actual expenses to your original budget for 2011, and see if it’s still realistic. If not, redo your budget, see if there is anything that can be reduced, and work with your new budget in 2012. If you got a pay cut/increase, or had any major changes to your bills, make those modifications to your budget now!
Organize your finances. Depending on your current situation, this could be a simple process or a longer one. First, put together a folder for your 2011 taxes, as you should be receiving important paperwork throughout January. Next, put together folders for bank statements, credit card bills, and other necessary files.
Plan your debt payoffs for 2012. Do you have debt that you are planning on paying down in 2012? If so, plan out exactly what you hope to pay each month, and set a goal for the expected balance at the end of the year. On the flip side, if you are saving for anything, including retirement, set a planned savings amount per month, with a goal for each savings target by the end of 2012. If you did this for 2011, now’s the time to measure your progress!
Pay your bills on time. With some organization, and a disciplined approach, you can definitely make your payments on time monthly. Late fees and interest payments are definitely a waste of your hard-earned money if they are a result of late payments.
Plan time weekly to “fix and maintain your budget”! Maintaining your family’s finances is one of the most essential task you can perform, so plan to spend a little bit of time weekly to organize your bills and statements, pay bills, track your spending, and communicate with your spouse on finances!
Contribute! If you aren’t currently contributing to a 529 plan for each of your kids and a 401k for yourself and your spouse, start now! If not, it’s a great time to open those accounts!
Re-evaluate. Can you get a lower rate by refinancing your mortgage? Are you using high-fee credit cards? Decide now if you want to investigate lower rates.
What are your financial resolutions?