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If you dread making New Year’s resolutions because you’re afraid you’ll fall short, take heart: One minor setback doesn’t mean having to write off the rest of the year.
You’ll probably have more success if you start out with small steps and gain momentum as you go, whether it’s losing weight, lowering debt or boosting retirement savings.
If your goal is to improve your personal finances, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Most dieters know that the key to success using Weight Watchers is to monitor every morsel you eat. You become more aware of and thus, more likely to change, behavioral patterns that caused you to overeat in the first place.
You can use the same strategy when designing a livable budget.
For a month or two, write down every cent you spend: rent, food, gas, clothes, cable, insurance (health, auto, home), 401(k) contributions, entertainment – everything. The list probably will be eye-opening. Along with the usual suggestions like brown-bagging lunch more often and fewer to-go coffees, try these relatively painless ways to trim expenses:
Pay bills on time and send at least the minimum amount due. You’ll avoid late fees and related interest rate increases, and it will improve your credit score.
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