It’s a brand new year, and this year you are going to take charge of your finances in a way you always hoped to be able to. With a new calendar comes fresh motivation to make positive changes, get organized, and help get 2016 off to a great start. If your personal budget has been struggling over the past twelve months, or worse, has been all but abandoned, now is a great time to set things on the right path. Here are a few tips to take charge of your personal budget and level up your finances for 2013.
Evaluate your spending habits
2015 has come and gone. There is not much you can do about your spending or income from the past year, but you can use that information to effectively evaluate your situation and make smart adjustments going forward. A great place to start is to take a good hard look at all your spending habits. These are recurring but not necessarily essential expenses such as eating out at restaurants, shopping, travel expenses, and other nonessential spending.
Identify key areas of improvement
The trick is to identify your weaknesses, set a budget for how much you want to limit your spending to, and make a plan for how to stick to that budget. For example, if you find yourself spending a lot on lunches because you simply don’t have the time or energy to prepare fulfilling lunches before work, make a resolution to seek out exciting lunch options when grocery shopping, prepare a meal before you turn in for the night, and limit your eating out to maybe one or two days a week. Once you get into the habit, the change will seem easy enough, and your budget will certainly feel the difference.
Target your most expensive debt
Debt is an obvious but very common source of unnecessary spending. The best tip for dealing with unnecessary debt is to target and systematically eliminate your most expensive debt. Credit card debt should be at the top of your list of unnecessary debt. Make sure that you pay off your credit cards in full every month. Check to see that you have the best possible interest rate for your card and if it’s not competitive, then consider switching companies. Pay off as much of your nonessential debt as possible. Especially with interest rates on the rise, it is critical to limit your debt as much as possible and make a resolution to avoid taking on additional debt in the new year.
Seek out additional income
While it is important to limit expenses and reduce unnecessary debt, another element of a well-balanced budget is, of course, income. If your expenses tend to outweigh your incoming finances, then it is time to find additional sources of income. There are many options available to make a little money on the side (such as consulting, taking on freelance projects, etc.), it’s also worth considering whether it is time to seek out better-paying career opportunities in the new year. If you know that your value in the market is more than what you currently bring in, consider working with a career advisor at Sentech Services to help pinpoint the best opportunities on the market.
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