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When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, getting into good shape financially ranks right up there with losing weight and eating healthier. All three goals require discipline and planning; and, as you’ve no doubt experienced, it’s not unusual to encounter setbacks along the way.
Don’t let losing a minor battle here or there convince you to surrender on the bigger war. You’ll probably have more success if you start out taking small steps, learning from your mistakes and gaining momentum as you go.
Here are a few suggestions for better managing your personal finances in the New Year:
The first step on the road to financial health is to create a budget you can live with. If you’re new to budgeting or haven’t been successful in the past, start slowly. For a few months write down every cent you spend: mortgage/rent, utilities, food, gas, medical copayments, credit card interest – the works. You’ll be surprised where you money goes.
At the same time, compare money coming in (income) to money going out (expenses). If you’re just breaking even or losing money each month, you need to boost your income and/or aggressively trim spending. Try these strategies: