We’ve almost made it through the first two months of 2018—how are those New Year’s resolutions holding up? If you made a commitment to resolving financial issues and setting yourself up for future financial success, assess the steps you’ve taken towards these goals in the past two months. If you find you’ve lost track of your goals, it’s time for a reset. Use these tips to change your finances and make the most of this year—it’s certainly not too late to bring those resolutions to fruition.
- Revise Your Budget
If you find you’re still struggling to pay off those credit card bills, it might be time to revise your budget. The following signs also indicate that it might be time to take a look at your monthly expenses again:
- You’re living paycheck to paycheck
- You’ve recently experienced a decrease in income
- You’ve recently had to make larger purchases (new rental rates, car payments, etc.)
If you decide it’s time to update your budget, start by identifying where your cash is going. Track your spending and find areas that can be categorized as frivolous expenses, then highlight the areas that are non-negotiable. This can help you find areas that require you to cut back—helping you fall into that budgeting sweet spot.
- Handle Tax Debt As Soon as Possible
If you’re in debt with the IRS, 2018 is the year to begin digging yourself out of that financial hole. Ignoring debt owed to Uncle Sam can result in severe consequences that you’ll feel for years to come, including wage seizures and bank levies. Don’t ignore notices from the government agency; the minute you know you won’t be able to pay what you owe to the IRS, get in contact with an agent and come up with a payment solution as soon as possible.
If you find that you can’t get the solution on your own, make it a priority to seek out professional help with IRS problems. Tax resolution specialists are adept at finding ways to settle overwhelming debt, and while you’ll have to make an investment in these services, the peace of mind and actionable tips you receive are likely more than worth it.
- Focus on Bolstering Your Emergency Savings
Financial experts recommend having at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved away in an emergency fund—especially important in a volatile economy. In the event of a job loss or arrival of a new little one, an emergency savings fund will become invaluable. To make it easier to funnel money into an emergency savings account, set up automatic drafts from your paycheck to the account. This way, money will be siphoned without effort—meaning you don’t have to think about it at all.
- Supplement Your Income
Working two jobs isn’t realistic for everyone, but there are certain ways to make a supplementary income that won’t completely deprive you of a personal and social life. If you have graphic design or writing skills, you can easily find work on a site like Upwork.com. If you’re great with kids, you might seek babysitting gigs on Care.com. Finding ways to pad your wallet each week can help you afford those recreational expenses—or more importantly, help you start paying down debt. Consider your skillset and look around for odd jobs that might help you put a little more into your bank account each month.
- Read Up On Financial Literature
As Michelangelo once said: “I am still learning.” Take this approach when it comes to financial matters. Read up on available literature and stay abreast of financial trends; read books from financial experts, and keep your eye on blogs that can provide new tips and insights. The more you know about appropriate financial strategy, the better off you’ll be.
The year has just begun, and you’ve got 10 months to make it your most financially successful yet. Consider these habits and the ways you might implement them into your money routine, and leave 2018 richer and more financially secure.