This is a guest article by Patty Whelan. If you are interested in contributing to Debt RoundUp, please follow our guidelines.
The New Year has traditionally been a time for new beginnings and setting new goals. For most of us it’s the time when we take stock on what has been working well in our lives and determine where we can make some improvement. The number of people joining gyms, starting a new fitness regimen or healthier diet rises dramatically at this time of year – most likely because the holiday season can be a time of excess—when we eat too much, do too much and spend too much.
That’s why January is a great time to see where we can cut back. January is also Financial Wellness Month and if you are among the masses looking to trim the fat, you may want to also consider where you can eliminate excessive spending and gain control of your finances.
Think carefully about your current situation. Are the bills starting to come in and remind you of your holiday spending? It’s the perfect occasion to imagine a life of financial freedom and moderate spending. If you feel these are unreachable goals you might want to make an appointment to see a financial advisor. Together you can create money management goals which may include:
- Getting out of debt
- Accumulating savings
- Donating to charity
- Planning for your retirement
The old adage: a penny saved is a penny earned, is good food for thought. If you cannot find a way to increase or supplement your income then the sensible thing to do is to spend less. Financial wellness involves preparation and using ways to track and manage your money.
Experts advise establishing a simple and practical plan for saving and spending – and it’s never too early to begin. Although financial advisors are helpful, there is a lot you can do on your own without their assistance.
- Start by creating a budget. Use software to simplify this task. Personal finance programs have built-in budgeting tools that can help you create your budget.
- Identify and evaluate how you are currently spending money (rent, utilities, food, transportation, entertainment, etc.) and set your priorities. Small indulgences can help keep you on track but large splurges will not – so beware of luxuries disguised as necessities.
- Set goals that take into consideration long-term financial objectives. Plan for a rewarding future.
- Track your spending to stay within your guidelines. Monitor your ATM usage since a little withdrawal here and there can sneakily add up and may even lead to your downfall. You might have to do without its convenience if you want to avoid blowing your budget.
Once your budget is in place, track your expenditures for a few months and then fine tune it. It can help you to craft a budget that you can truly live with in order to reach your saving-and-spending goals. With a little effort you can create the means to experience financial wellness every month of the year.
Author Bio: Patty Whelan is a seasoned copywriter with significant experience producing original content in all facets of online and offline marketing communications, with specialties in all aspects of Search Engine Optimization copy writing. Her work has covered a broad range of topics for varying industries and has been published in print and electronic media. The focus of her current work concentrates on the electronic payment processing industry and small businesses. Find more of Patty’s work at the Merchant Express Resource Center.
Editor’s Note: I believe that January is a great month to get your life in check. If you have a hectic life like me, I tend to push my financial checkup into February, so I can have more time to figure out my financial needs and my path toward financial well-being.
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