Tips for Shaping Up Your Personal Finances in 2018

Farwewell 2017! We’re looking ahead to 2018 with more determination, and we have a few tips for keeping your finances happy and healthy this year.  

Keep Your Goals Realistic 

The most important thing to do for general financial goal setting is to keep realism front and center in your mind. It’s very easy to suggest that you try to save more while also paying all the various bills you need to pay, so instead, take some time to create a few carefully considered, attainable financial goals for the new year.  

Your financial goals and actions shouldn’t be based on arbitrary numbers you read in an article or a blog post, but instead be reflective of what you can realistically achieve at this point in your life. Work toward paying off your debt and save as much as you can, but base your efforts and your objectives on an audit of your own situation.  

Your previous year’s finances are a good place to start: even a brief audit is likely to reveal areas you’re spending way more than you realized. Things like lunches and dinners out, or the daily latte really do add up quickly, and we’re all subscribed to more services than we actually have time to use. A good rule of thumb: if it’s upsetting to learn you spend as much as you do on a certain thing, chances are you won’t have a hard time cutting back.  

Set realistic goals for this new year to cut back on the less necessary purchases to free up more of your cash for the stuff that matters. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so set yourself up for success. And then revisit your new goals regularly to check in on your progress toward them.  

Save More 

That being said, there’s simply no way around the need to constantly be striving to save more money in the bank.  

By making a good habit out of saving money, not only will you ensure you’re in a position to take advantage of future opportunities when they become available to you, your personal financial needs will never hinder your business aspirations.  

It’s a sensible idea to build and maintain a nest egg for contingencies and emergencies. If you’ve dreamed of starting your own business, buying that house or taking that bucket list trip, having a financial cushion when you follow your dreams can be a big bonus. The best way to build one is to reign in your current expenses.  

Budget Management 

One of the best parts of the modern age is the wealth of tools and software available to help organize your personal finances. Some of the most useful are budget management tools, which are a welcome upgrade on that Excel spreadsheet that you all too happily deviate from. 

Software like YNAB, Mint and MoneyStrands are all cloud based, meaning they’ll sync seamlessly between your devices for convenience and on-the-go adjustments or reviews. More sophisticated budget management tools also allow you to manage your money for the short term, day-to-day expenses, as well as the big things you know are coming up in the not-too-distant future.  

If you make your budget easier to stick to, you might just do it.  

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