8 Ways to Jump-Start Your Financial Resolutions
Updated: November 28, 2023
It’s almost the new year, and this past year has flown by. At Launch, we’re always thinking of ways we can help our members improve their financial well-being, especially at the start of a new year. This is also on the minds of many Americans as a new year starts and resolutions are made. One in three Americans are planning to make finance-related New Year’s resolutions, according to a new WalletHub Survey. We’ve outlined a few steps to jump-start your financial resolutions.
1. Identify your financial goals
Do you see yourself with a new house, car, or boat? Do you want to reduce your debt? Are you saving for your kids to attend college? Or maybe you want to go back to school. Everyone has different financial goals so it’s important to name yours so you can create a unique plan.
2. Track Your Money
This is an important first step to take before creating your budget. Take the time to analyze your bank and credit card statements to see where your money is going. Find out what you spend your money on, where financial leaks are happening, and what specific amounts you need to spend on each category (groceries, gas, bills, etc.)
3. Create A Budget
Once you’ve taken the time to track your spending habits, you can create a budget. There are several ways you can create a budget, but first start by creating a list of your monthly expenses including bills, groceries, gas, etc. Divide these into fixed (steady expenses) and variable (fluctuating expenses.) Once these are done you can compare your income to your spend and create a budget from there. The Balance has a step-by-step process on how to create a budget. Another great tool for understanding your budget is by using one of Launch’s financial calculators. These can help you determine if you should refinance a loan, how to save for a big item, and how long your retirement savings will last.
4. Pay off Debt
A huge financial goal for many people is to decrease personal debt. There are various methods to decreasing your debt, including “avalanche” and “snowball” methods. The avalanche method starts by making extra payments towards high-interest loans first. The snowball method focuses on paying smaller debts first. Refinancing can also be a helpful way to reduce debt, especially if you’re dealing with high-interest rates. Another option is balance transfer. Take the high-interest rate balance from your current credit card and transfer it to a lower-rate credit card. Launch offers free balance transfers when you become a Launch VISA platinum credit cardholder.
5. Improve Your Credit Score
A high credit score can open many financial doors. A great credit score helps you to obtain low-interest-rate loans and credit cards. Your score also helps you reach new home, car, and boat goals. Credit scores can be confusing, so Launch outlined why your score is critical. Ways to increase your credit score include paying bills on time, keeping your credit card amount below 30% of your credit limit, and disputing inaccuracies.
6. Automate Payments
Now that you have a budget, it’s time to automate your monthly payments. This way, you make on-time payments while improving your credit score. If you’re a Launch member, we offer a BillPayer service through our Digital Banking Suite. You can also set up recurring transfers and loan payments.
7. Start An Emergency Fund
You never know when disaster will strike, so be prepared. Experts suggest keeping between three and six months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund. You can start setting aside funds weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly depending on your budget. A quick way to start is by setting aside your tax return funds. It may seem difficult to set aside extra money, but we have tips to help you get started.
8. Financial Education
Increase your personal financial expertise so you can learn tips and tricks from experts. Once you know more, you’ll be able to come up with suggestions unique to your situation. Try reading more articles, listening to a podcast, or attending a seminar. Launch provides free seminars in Volusia and Brevard County throughout the year. Look for upcoming credit score and mortgage seminars in the New Year. You can also check out our glossary of financial terms.
American businessman and author, Robert Kiyosaki, said it best: “Financial freedom is freedom from fear.” If you have questions about achieving your financial goals this year, stop by any of our Launch branches, call us, or visit our website.