With 2024 right around the corner, December is a great time to get your house in order and set some personal financial goals for the new year.
Of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions annually, only 9% follow through in keeping them, according to Inc. magazine. The key to being successful is to make sure your resolutions address an immediate need or a change you must make. And you should have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and why to increase your motivation to follow through.
Once you identify your goals, create an achievable plan to reach them. Include milestones you may celebrate along the way to reaching your end goal. Expect obstacles and have a plan for what you will do when progress stalls. Remaining realistic, and positive, will go a long way toward helping you achieve success.
Consider these easy steps to improving and simplifying your finances in 2024:
Set up autopay for everything: From your utility bills to your rent, automate payments so you never pay a late fee. Excellent payment history will be reflected on your credit score, which is vital if you need to apply for a loan, sign a lease, or open new accounts in the future. You can also direct automatic deposits from your paycheck to your savings, to boost your monthly savings rate.
Bump up your retirement contribution by 1%: Investing a few extra dollars per month into your retirement account could help you increase your retirement savings at a faster rate. If your employer provides a match, make sure you contribute the required percentage to receive the match. That’s free money in your favor.
Give your budget a makeover: If it’s been a while since you’ve tweaked your budget, take the time to restructure it to fit your most current lifestyle and rate of inflation. Include revised amounts of food, utilities, rent or mortgage, and medical expenses.
Try a “savings spree”: Save the dollar amount of each calendar day for one month. Start by saving $1 of the first of the month, $2 on the second, and so on. You could end up saving around $500 for the month!
Are you getting the best interest rates? Check the interest rates on any checking, savings, and money market accounts you hold. There are some great deals right now on money market and short-term certificates of deposit (CDs). Talk to a local credit union to find out if they have any high-yield accounts where you could earn more interest.
Check your credit score: Having a good credit score affects so much of what you can accomplish financially in your life. You can receive one free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It’s important to know your score and what is affecting it and to be vigilant for any potential identity fraud. To check your report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Day Air Credit Union has financial counselors who can review your finances and your goals, and help you create a path to financial success. Visit dayair.org/locations to find your local branch.