How well did you meet the financial goals you made on January 1 this past year?
If you’re still struggling to keep that budget in order or you had to deal with some major financial emergencies this past year, now would be a great time re-evaluate your financial standing and set some new goals for the year ahead.
Achieving all of your financial goals may not be possible, but working on a few, specific goals can help you get on a better financial track.
Taking a few steps now can prepare you for a much better financial forecast throughout the New Year.
Here are five tips that can help you achieve your financial goals in the New Year:
1. Create a Q1 budget with very specific goals.
Setting some long-term savings goals is great, but you won’t really know if you can achieve them until you break down the steps and set some milestones for yourself.
Focus on just the first quarter for now and set some very specific targets. How much do you want to have saved for travel, leisure expenses, and other luxuries by the end of March?
Do you have enough set aside for taxes come April? How much do you think you’ll be spending for the first three months of the year? Prepare your own financial “forecast” for just three months so you can set some specific, tangible goals.
2. Start cutting costs.
As spending season subsides, now would be a great time to start scaling back and get into the habit of saving.
Find ways to save a few extra dollars here and there, and tally everything so you can see how well you did. Set a weekly budget and savings goal so you can start trimming extra expenses as you go.
Cutting costs now will make it easier to keep going as the New Year unfolds.
3. Get your finances organized.
Organize your bills and create a master list of all open accounts and balances so you have a good idea of how many accounts you actually have.
You’ll need separate lists of your assets (bank accounts and investments), and your liabilities (credit cards, personal loans, bank loans, and other debts).
Plan on reviewing this master list throughout the year so you have an accurate idea of where you stand financially.
4. Run a “what if” analysis.
Would you be able to make ends meet if you lost your job, got into a serious car accident, lost your investment account, or even lost your home in a fire?
Consider a few different scenarios – without worrying excessively about the future – and make sure you’re working towards padding an emergency account to cover your bases in the New Year.
5. Share your goals with someone you trust.
Accountability plays an important role in reaching many of your personal goals – including your financial ones. Share some of your goals with someone you trust so you can “check in” with them periodically throughout the year.
Share your success story when you reach certain milestones, and admit to your faults or some bad financial habits you’ve indulged in as often as you can.
Sometimes knowing that you’re answerable to somebody else can prompt you to stay focused and on track with meeting your financial goals.