You’ve tried losing weight, quitting vices and getting more organised – this year, why not make a new year’s resolution that you can really stick to that will not only benefit you, but your entire household as well?
While it is quite admirable to aim for a healthier lifestyle, it may be a good idea to shift to finances when coming up with a new year’s resolution this time around. Financial New Year’s resolutions are becoming more common this year, especially with the uncertainty of current economies. More and more people are starting to give more importance to being financially stable now and in the future, and being able to provide for their families even long after they’re gone.
To get you started on the right foot financially, we’ve listed some of the most crucial and basic financial resolutions you can take on for 2013:
1. Create a Comprehensive Budget, and Follow It. To be able to create a comprehensive budget, you must first be fully aware of your financial standing. To do this, first create a personal or household balance sheet. List down all your assets – income, properties and other investments – as well as your outstanding debts. This will give you a clearer idea of where you stand financially, what you need to work on and where you can make adjustments in order to attain a more desirable financial standing. Once you have this overall picture, make your budget plan by listing down your total income as well as your total expenses within a given period, and then make necessary adjustments so that you have specific and untouchable allocations for paying off debts, savings and all other expenses. This may mean minimising or letting go of some expenses, or liquidating some assets. Most importantly, stick to this budget plan. Be realistic when allocating so you will be more likely to follow through but also make sure the budget plan helps you achieve you financial goals for the year.
2. Track Your Expenses. If following a budget seems too hard or restrictive, you can always start by tracking your expenses. Save all your receipts for the month and keep an eye out for those extra expenses you can eliminate for the next month. Try not to use your credit card as it is much harder to track expenses through it.
3. Cut Down on Expenses. Hand in hand with tracking your expenses is minimising them. Some good rules to follow is to pay only for what you spend and swap those expenses that can be swapped with less expensive ones. For instance, do you really need that many channels on your cable TV? Is what you’re spending for your cellphone or internet service really reasonable? And do you really need that gym membership? If these things can be limited or eliminated, then do so.
4. Start a Savings Account. There will be moments that will require more than just a few dollars. There will be holidays you’ll want to take, emergencies you’ll need to address immediately, and things you’ll need to buy for special occasions like Christmas or birthdays. For all these things, you’ll need an emergency savings account. This should be separate from your regular account and should contain enough to pay off nine to twelve months’ worth of expenses. You don’t have to deposit a large amount right away, just make sure you save a portion of your income in this account monthly and resolve not to touch it unless it is a real emergency. In case it still isn’t big enough by the time you do need it though, you can always apply for personal loans in Australia from us here at Personal Finance Co. We offer very manageable repayment solutions for our fast approval loans so you’ll always have the money you need and no trouble at all paying for the loan.
5. Pay Off Your Debts. This is definitely harder than it sounds, but with some disciplined budgeting, saving and spending, and with helpful partners like Personal Finance Co., it is possible. Start with the small debts first and work your way to the big ones. Starting small will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence in tackling the bigger ones.
6. Review Your Insurance. Take a second look at your life insurance and see if it’s really enough. According to recent findings, it takes around a quarter of a million dollars to raise a child these days. So do you have enough to raise your children? Do you have enough to cover all expenses if in case you pass away or face sudden tragedies? Consider these questions carefully and see if your coverage meets your needs and adjust it accordingly. If you have health insurance, make sure to check the benefits that you’ll be getting and take full advantage of these benefits for added savings.
7. Get Financially Educated. It’s never too late to learn new ways of handling your finances better. Keep yourself updated with new and better ways of managing your money through various books, newspapers and reputable sources online such as Personal Finance Co.