budgeting at desk

January, the start of a new year and a new you.  We make resolutions to exercise more, eat less junk food, read more, play less video games, etc. 

In addition to our health resolutions, which unfortunately tend to fall by the wayside by this time in January – we need to resurrect some financial resolutions that we may have started, but they too have been put on the shelf by now.

Here are 10 easy financial resolutions to commit to NOW, so next year you'll be starting off on the right foot:

1. Start that emergency savings account. Even $5 or $10 out of every paycheck adds up over time and can save you big $$ when something unexpected comes up.

2. Start a budget or if you have one, review it to see if it is still working.

3. Make an appointment to get a Financial Wellness Check-up with a financial coach at Greylock if you have some flexibility during the day and live in Berkshire County or…

4. You can call GreenPath at 1-877-337-3399 and they will work with you from the privacy of your own home. Night and weekend hours are offered.

5. Try – Try – Try to not use your credit cards for a few months, so you can pay them down. Keeping the outstanding balance under 30% of your credit limit helps to boost your credit score.  Example:  if your limit is $1000 and you owe $300 or less – Good Job!!

6. Achieving small goals boosts morale, so if you can concentrate on paying off one small credit card at a time (but leave it open with no balance) you will feel empowered. Make sure that you make the minimum payments on your other cards while you concentrate on adding the extra money to the card you want paid, so your FICO score is positively impacted.

7. Bring your lunch to work at least 4 days a week and treat yourself only once. At an average of $10 per day that is an extra $40 per week ($160 per month average) that can be applied to those holiday debts you racked up.

8. We love our coffee but that too adds up – go to your favorite coffee shop as a “treat” not a daily ritual and you will be amazed how quickly that $2 to $4 dollars saved can add up and pad your checking account balance.

9. Do you read all of the magazines and papers that you have subscriptions for? If not, cancel them and save some $$.

10. If you own a car, make sure you keep up with the regular maintenance – just like your body – if you keep it healthy and running well, you can avoid costly repairs.

In summary – these small steps can have a big impact on your budget over time.  I bet all of you can add many more ideas to this list – so give it a try and you will see the great results that you can achieve.

Written by Cindy Shogry-Raimer