2016’s days are officially numbered. As a result now is the time when most of us are looking back at the trying year that was and making our plans for 2017.
However, before January 1st arrives, there are a few things you should do if you want to start the New Year off right financially. With that in mind, here are three things to do to ensure a stronger fiscal 2017:
Create a better budget
Hopefully, at this point, you already have a budget in place and you stick to it. However, even if that’s the case, there is always room for improvement. And if you don’t have a budget at all, now is the perfect time to draw one up.
Without a proper budget, you’re more likely to overspend while also shorting your savings and neglecting your debt. Stop spending blindly! Before the New Year arrives, take a closer look at where your money goes and where you can cut back.
Follow up on your subscriptions
Speaking of knowing where your money is going, we’re all guilty of holding subscriptions that we no longer need. From forgotten gym memberships to unnecessary streaming services, you could be a wasting a significant amount each month without even realizing it.
As you’re creating your budget, take the time to track down all of these subscriptions and see what you need to do in order to kill them off. Similarly, if you have other auto-paid bills like your cable or internet, double check that you know how much you’re paying —it may be time to make a call and see if you can get a better deal.
Hold onto that holiday bonus
While many of us anxiously await our annual holiday or end of the year bonuses, this can actually be a bad financial habit. For one, there’s no guarantee that your bonus will be the same amount it was the previous year, so you shouldn’t count on that money to materialize. Additionally, even if you do get what you were expecting, there are better uses for that money than a carefree spending spree.
If you have debts — especially expensive credit card debt — using your bonus to pay down your balance is an admittedly less fun but a way more responsible move. Alternatively, making an extra contribution to your retirement account is also a great idea. In fact, you have until April to have your contribution count toward your 2016 taxes.
Of course investing your bonus is also an option worth considering. Whether you want to stick to stocks or try out some alternative investments, using your “found money” is a great way to explore new opportunities.
Last but not least you can always set the money aside for a “rainy day fund” just in case an unexpected expense arises sometime in the New Year. Cars break down, appliances conk out, and accidents happen, so it’s always helpful to be prepared.
If you really want to achieve your finance-related resolutions next year, it’s best to get a head start now. With a better budget, less wasted funds, and a holiday bonus being put to good use, you’ll be on your way to a great fiscal 2017. Happy New Year!
DISCLAIMER: This article expresses my own ideas and opinions. Any information I have shared are from sources that I believe to be reliable and accurate. I did not receive any financial compensation in writing this post, nor do I own any shares in any company I’ve mentioned. I encourage any reader to do their own diligent research first before making any investment decisions.
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