As the year comes to a close and you start planning for 2020, make your financial goals a priority. When planning, be sure to take time to review your spending in 2019 to better understand what you should focus on in the new year. Consider the following financial resolutions to help reach your 2020 goals.
1. Create a budget
When reviewing your financial history from 2019, keep track of key takeaways. Did you overspend more during certain times of the year? Or maybe you had an unexpected big purchase? Using your financial decisions from the previous year to inform your budget for the following year can set you up for future financial success. Utilize your budget throughout 2020 to help you stay on track with your spending and saving.
2. Cut unnecessary spending
After identifying your monthly payments, make a list and decide which items you might be able to remove. Have an expensive gym membership you don't fully take advantage of? Consider dropping it and working out at home. Swap your food delivery service for grocery shopping yourself. Create a list of only the items you need before heading out to reduce the amount of "must-have" additions when you're at the store.
3. Save more than you spend each month
This resolution seems obvious, right? It may be, but it's not always easy to follow. Now that you're following a budget, track the amount of money you're taking home from your paycheck and make sure you don't spend more than that. You can save money by skipping those shopping trips, bringing your lunch instead of buying, and only going to the grocery store if you need something.
4. Find out your credit score
Request a free credit report for 2019. Once you know your credit score and your credit situation, you can work to improve or maintain your score. If you have credit card debt, pay it off when you can, starting with the credit card with the highest interest rate.
5. Create or continue contributing to an emergency fund
If you already have an emergency fund, that's great—continue contributing to this fund to ensure you have "spare" money in case something comes up. If you don't have an emergency fund, start one as soon as possible. Unfortunately, unexpected bills come up. Use some of your saved monthly money to contribute to your emergency fund or, if you need to, try getting a second job until you feel comfortable with the amount you have saved.
6. Plan for retirement
If your employer has a 401(k) option, contribute as much as you can. If your employer matches, try to contribute the percentage needed to match, which typically ranges between three and six percent. Contributing to your retirement options when you're younger will help you be financially prepared once you are able to retire.
After you've determined the financial resolutions that are right for you, start following your 2020 financial plan. To help follow through on your financial resolutions, check out some of the financial advice and resources offered by North Country Savings Bank.