As you look back over this past year, did you meet the financial goals and expectations that you set? Perhaps you started the year out like me and had some financial goals in mind. You created a budget, or you planned to build up your emergency savings account. If you fell short of accomplishing your goals, ask yourself why. Were your goals specific? Were your timelines realistic?
Here are 3 steps you can take to review your finances and get ready for the next year.
Review your spending to see what you can cut:
This is probably the most time consuming for us, but might be one of the most necessary (and potentially painful) steps to take so that you can see where your money actually went (not where you thought you spent it). It’s an eye-opening experience. We knew going into 2018 that we wanted to cut our eating out spending habit. We downloaded our eStatements from online banking, categorized each expense (eating out, groceries, gas, entertainment, utilities, etc.), and then tallied up each of those categories. We quickly found out that we were still spending WAY too much money eating out.
Review your savings account to see if you reached your savings goal for the year:
We set a goal to open a new, separate savings account that gives us access to our money, if needed, but also grows our savings with automatic deposits each month. Alltru’s High Yield Online Savings Account is a great emergency savings account because it earns a higher interest rate. We could easily get to our money, if needed, but since it was a separate account, we didn’t think about it as much and it was easy to set it up and forget about it while it earned a higher interest rate for us.
Review your credit report and credit score:
This is an important one for us. We are a young couple who are looking to start a family soon, so we know that big purchases are in our future, so our credit scores need to be ideal for our future plans. I use CreditKarma to check both Eric and I’s credit reports and scores often. It’s easy to use and you can look at it whenever you want to without affecting your credit score.
Knowing how you spent your money, how much money you saved, and knowing your credit scores are some great tools to use when looking to move forward into the new year.