With 2023 quickly approaching, many are eager to create fresh goals and resolutions for the new year. However, many people are also carrying the weight of a financially-hard 2022, and are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged when it comes to reassessing their finances.
Financial situations can look different across the board, but it’s widely reported that many Americans are simply trying to make ends meet right now. In September 2022, it was found that 63% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
Although reassessing your financial management for the upcoming year can feel daunting, there are strategic things you can do to effectively assess your money and take better control of your finances. Read on to learn more.
- Perform a thorough audit of your monthly spending
Sometime soon, plan to set aside a couple of hours to sit down with your recent bank statements and thoroughly examine your monthly spending. Create a simple spreadsheet that outlines your fixed costs (mortgage, utilities, car payments, loan payments, etc.) and your variable costs (food, gas, etc.). As you are examining your statements, identify where your money is going every month – is it going to food? Transportation? Miscellaneous expenses?
Once you visually identify the areas where most of your money is going, you can then figure out how you can realistically curb your spending. Examples of this could be deciding to work out at home instead of paying for a monthly gym membership, eating out twice a month rather than every week, using coupons when you go grocery shopping, utilizing one streaming service instead of two or more, etc.
A key thing to remember here is to not get discouraged if you can only curb your spending in small amounts or small areas. Little amounts can add up to decent savings over time!
- Make it a financial goal to create an emergency fund
With inflation making it harder to make ends meet, setting aside money for an emergency savings fund may feel like the least important thing to do. However, having an emergency fund can be a lifesaver if you find yourself in an unexpected situation where you need money fast (and want to avoid increasing credit card debt). Most financial advisors recommend having an emergency fund that would cover 3-9 months of essential expenses. Although that can feel daunting, remember: small amounts can add up to decent savings over time. To start, you can create a feasible goal of $1,000 for your emergency fund, and plan to set aside $10-$20 a week.
- If you have credit card debt, consider a Balance Transfer
Over the last couple of years, high costs of living have driven an unprecedented amount of people to heavily rely on credit cards. While credit cards can be extremely helpful when you need money fast, payments and interest can add up quickly – especially if you have multiple cards. If you are in this situation, shop around and see which issuers offer lower APR than your current cards, and consider applying for a balance transfer credit card. This would enable you to roll all of your credit card debt onto one card with one monthly payment and interest rate – and could potentially save you hundreds each month. At Nusenda Credit Union, we offer Visa Platinum Rewards and Visa Platinum Cash Rewards credit cards that offer competitive rates. Applying online is simple and convenient!
Overall, financially difficult times can be discouraging, but there are strategic ways to strengthen your financial stability over time. Aim to implement these three things, and 2023 could be a year of less stress and more financial confidence.
At Nusenda Credit Union, we’re dedicated to improving our members’ financial well-being and supporting them through affordable products, friendly service, community involvement, and financial education. We'd love to find other ways to help you save money. You can reach us at 505-889-7755 (800-347-2838 outside the Albuquerque area) or make an appointment to meet with us at any of our branch locations.