By the time 2017 is over, your finances have likely taken a hit from holiday shopping and year-end expenses. Instead of making a New Year’s resolution to get your budget back on track, start thinking now about certain actions you can take to end the year on a high note. Here are some things you can do now to ensure you start off 2018 in good financial standing.
Build a monthly budget
Now is the time to set a game plan for how you’ll regulate your spending in the coming year. At the beginning of each month, come up with a budget that works for your lifestyle. Taking a hard look at things as the month is beginning will set you up to make good money decisions. Because each month is different, don’t expect your budget to be the same for each one. For instance, if you know you’ll be attending a wedding in the month of April, plan in advance to cut back on “extras.”
Make weekly card payments
Instead of waiting for your bill to come each month, decide now to make payments each week instead. It can be so easy to charge without thinking about the mountain of debt you’re acquiring, so hold yourself accountable on a more regular basis. This will help you to more quickly pull yourself out of that debt, especially after the expensive holiday season.
Use cash, not card
As mentioned above, because we so quickly swipe our cards without keeping track of our purchases, it can be incredibly easy for our spending to get out of hand. As you look toward 2018 and the money habits you’ll develop, decide now to withdraw cash and only use that amount for a specified period of time. Studies have shown that an average person spends about 15% less when they use cash only. So, put your cards away, pay down those bills, and give yourself a cash limit to help keep your spending at bay.