By Navigator Credit Union
The start of a new year means it’s time to make resolutions. If you’re looking to improve your financial situation, here are five money smart ideas for 2023:
FINANCIAL RESOLUTION #1: SAVE MONEY
If you’ve struggled with setting money aside, automating is a simple way to create a savings plan that sticks. Some ways you can put savings into autopilot include setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, directly depositing a portion of your paycheck into a savings account and participating in your employer’s 401k plan.
FINANCIAL RESOLUTION #2: MAKE A BUDGET
Making a budget is important to staying on top of your spending. But simply making one isn’t enough; you must live it every day. Set up alerts to track your debit card transactions, account balances and bill due dates. Be sure to budget for some fun, too! You’ll be more likely to stick with the plan if it includes some funds for entertainment.
FINANCIAL RESOLUTION #3: PAY OFF DEBT
If you have debt, make a plan to pay it off. For large debts like mortgages and car loans, consider making an extra payment per year or paying more than the minimum each month. If you have balances on high-interest department store or bank credit cards, consider transferring the balance to a credit card with a lower interest rate. Work on paying off highest-interest debt first for the biggest impact on your household finances.
FINANCIAL RESOLUTION #4: START OR MAINTAIN AN EMERGENCY FUND
If you don’t have an emergency fund or want to add to it, make
it a priority this year. Comb through your budget for how much
you must save for emergencies. Then, commit to transferring that amount to a dedicated account monthly. A common rule of thumb is to save three to six months’ worth of expenses for emergencies. If that seems unreachable, remember the adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
FINANCIAL RESOLUTION #5: IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE
If your credit score is less than stellar, vowing to improve it could be a great financial resolution. Some of the most effective ways to raise your score include paying bills on time, keeping credit card balances low and fixing any discrepancies on your report. You can get a free credit report at annualcreditreport.com.
As you make your financial resolutions, remember the year may not go exactly as you planned, and it may be necessary to adjust your goals from time to time. It’s important not to abandon your plan when that happens; smart money resolutions are good ideas any time of year.
Navigator Credit Union has 12 branches along the Mississippi and Alabama Gulf Coasts. Learn more at navigatorcu.org or call 800-344-3281.