Here are nine tips from the Illinois CPA Society to help strengthen your finances in the New Year
Financial Fitness in 2015
At Auto Credit Express we're not above passing on someone else's good ideas when it comes to credit repair and managing finances. A few years ago we came across these nine resolutions from the Illinois CPA Society. Here are some excerpts from it:
- Slim down your spending
Do you spend more when stressed, tired or hungry? Learn to avoid situations which might lead to overspending, and always think twice before buying. It's not just how much you make but how much you spend that most influences your finances.
- Be Honest
If you normally spend $300 on groceries, don't write down "$200" in your grocery category. Write down "$300" and then aim for $200. Underestimating how much you plan to spend will get you in trouble.
- Stick to a budget
Once you see where your money is going, you can make better choices on how best to spend less and save more. Build a budget and stick with it, especially in the face of negative comments from friends and family.
- Work off debt
First, you should outline a very specific strategy for accomplishing this goal. Second, consider using a credit counseling service or setting personal limits to consolidate your debt for your credit cards each month.
- Flex your money knowledge
Make yourself aware of basic issues such as your net worth, when your debts need to be paid off, your retirement goals, and your capital needs to buy house/car/appliances. Get smart about your money.
- Set Goals and Priorities
You will never hit the target if you don't know what your goal is. Identify and prioritize your financial goals and when you would like to achieve them by.
- Exercise caution and emphasize safety
Focus on creating a financial safety net; save for emergencies. Generally, you should have an emergency fund to cover six months worth of living expenses.
- Keep your records in shape
Have photos and videos of everything you own and keep them in a safe place. Store permanent records such as birth certificates, property deeds, insurance policies, wills, power of attorney and other important documents in a safe, fireproof location.
- Get a Finance Coach
January is an ideal time to meet and develop a financial plan with your CPA advisor. Outline some short and long term goals together.
The Bottom Line
We agree with the Illinois CPA Society that the New Year is a good time to take the following advice: step back and assess your financial situation for the coming year and resolve to make it as good as you can.