Financial resolutions for 2023

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As the end of December approaches, it’s natural to reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead. While New Year’s resolutions often focus on eating less and exercising more, it’s also an ideal time to think about improving your financial health.

Need some inspiration? We’ve put together five resolutions that can help you take charge of your finances in the coming year and beyond. Here’s to health and prosperity in 2023!

1. Set financial goals you can reach

You may decide that this is the year to start an emergency fund, pay off your car, buy a home, or enjoy a special vacation. Whether your goals are large or small, having a clear mental picture of what you’re working toward can help motivate you to succeed. Just be realistic about what you can accomplish, and remember you can always adjust your plans if your needs change.

And don’t stop with the next 12 months. You can set midrange goals for the next several years, or long-term goals to carry you five years or more. Think ahead about where you’d like to be in the future.

2. Create a budget

A budget can be a powerful tool for money management. Start by listing all your income from your work, investments, and other sources. Then collect your bills from the past few months and make a list of your recurring expenses.

From these two lists, identify where your money will go each month. You want to set reasonable limits on your spending, but don’t be afraid to include treats for yourself or your family—a budget doesn’t have to cut out pleasures. You just want to be sure you can meet all your expenses comfortably.

3. Manage your debt

To manage your debt well, you need to do two things: Pay all your bills on time, and keep debt balances low.

First, it’s important to know exactly how much you owe. Make a list of all your debts, including the total amount of each one, who you owe it to, the minimum monthly payment, interest rate, and due date. Now that you have a clear picture of what you owe, you can plan a strategy to pay it off, such as making larger monthly payments or consolidating your debt. You’ll also know whether you can afford to take on new debt.

4. Spend less

Do you have money left over at the end of each month? Congratulations—you’re on the way to financial freedom. That extra cash allows you to save toward your goals and invest for the future.

But maybe you’re finding it hard to stay within your budget. Are there expenses you can trim? Here are some painless ways to reduce your monthly spending.

Cancel unused subscriptions

It’s easy to get pulled in by a first-month-free offer—and then forget to cancel the subscription later. But those monthly fees can add up quickly. If you’re not using an entertainment service often enough to justify its cost, try canceling it to save some money. You can always sign up again later if you change your mind.

The same holds true for gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, and that Fruit of the Month Club. If you don’t use it, don’t pay for it.

Review your cell phone bill

Your cell phone bill should include your cellular charge and your data plan. But you may also be paying regular fees for insurance or access to early upgrades. By eliminating extra services on each line, you can reduce your phone bill every month.

Keep a shopping list

Food prices are rising steeply. If you want to spend less at the grocery store, try making out a shopping list before you go. This helps you get everything you need without giving in to impulse buys. It can also save you extra trips to the store for items you may have forgotten.

Track your spending

Knowing where your money goes is key to spending less. Keep receipts and track what you actually spend month by month. You may want to enter this information on a computer spreadsheet. Having the numbers in front of you in black and white can be a big help in getting your spending under control.

5. Automate your savings

Saving money has gotten a lot easier now that there are apps to automate the process. Most of these apps require only a checking account and a smartphone. You decide on your savings goals, and the app helps you achieve them without worry or stress.

Each app works differently, so you may want to look at several before deciding which one suits you best. Whatever app you choose, you can feel good knowing that it’s one more step toward taking control of your finances.

Starting fresh in 2023

A new year means a fresh start. Give yourself credit for making financial resolutions and working to keep them. Remember to celebrate each time you reach a milestone, such as a debt paid off or a certain amount saved.

Looking for affordable lending options to help you on your financial journey? Check out personal loans, credit cards, and other smart solutions from Oportun.

And have a happy New Year!

 

Sources

CNBC Select. 10 financial New Year’s resolutions to set now and achieve in the new year

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. How to create a budget and stick with it

Equifax. Debt management

NerdWallet. NerdWallet’s 3 best money-saving apps

 

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