Although the state of the economy is not showing major signs of improvement for 2012, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our own financial lives for the New Year. With bankruptcy filings and foreclosures continuing to hover around highs, it is becoming more important than ever that we take matters into our own hands. While we may not always be able to avoid certain debts or financial hardships, there are a few ways we can change our habits to give ourselves a fighting chance in the New Year.
Setting New Goals
The problem with any New Year’s Resolution is unrealistic goals. When we set our bar too high, we are setting ourselves up to fail. Applying this knowledge to our financial lives can help us set more manageable goals for 2012.
First, make a commitment to attend a credit counseling course. These courses are required of bankruptcy filers, but open to anyone looking to improve their money management skills. They can teach valuable information about creating a budget, using credit wisely and strategies for paying off debts outside of bankruptcy.
Second, prioritize your saving. It is easy to have the desire to save money, but actually doing it can be very difficult for most people. There are two ways to boost your savings with very little effort: (1) put part of your paycheck into savings the day you get paid rather than waiting and (2) set up an automatic checking to savings draft each month at your local bank.
Third, identify at least one debt you will attempt to pay off by the end of the year. There are several ways in which you can attack a debt, all of which can be effective if you stay consistent. The idea is to identify one of your debts that you can realistically afford to pay extra towards every month until it is paid off.