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Take Charge America Offers Tips For Keeping Financial Resolutions In 2017

[Wednesday, January 11th, 2017]

It doesn’t matter if 2017 is already well underway; it’s never too late to make some resolutions for the new year. So if you haven’t already started going to the gym, eating healthy, and saving money, this is a great time to think about what you want to focus on during the coming year.

Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit-counseling agency, has a few recommendations for how to keep those resolutions, once you have them in mind. Because although studies show up to 50 percent of people make goals at the beginning of January, the majority of them fail within a few weeks.

“Many of us come out of the gate raring to go, but our enthusiasm quickly dies because our goals are too lofty, or because we haven’t established any sort of plan,” says Mike Sullivan, who works for Take Charge America as a personal finance consultant. Sullivan says folks are more likely to keep their resolutions if they make small, doable goals, have a plan to achieve them, and celebrate milestones.

The agency offers these tips for keeping your money resolutions this year:

1. Take inventory of the last year. Review your current finances and look at what happened over the past 12 months.
2. Make a budget. Know how much you take in, and how much you need to spend each month. Include discretionary spending as well as necessities.
3. Automate what you can. Simplify your life by using your bank’s bill pay feature so you don’t have to think about paying bills each month. Set it up so all your recurring payments are made automatically.
4. Organize your finances. If you don’t have a system in place for paying bills, figure one out. Look over your credit report, take stock of your accounts, and shred old documents and receipts.
5. Build an emergency savings fund. It’s best to have three to six months of savings put away for a rainy day, so if you don’t have it, now is the time to start.
6. Pay down debt. If you have credit card debt, work on chipping away at it. Get a prepaid card and use that when you need to pay with a card, rather than adding to your credit card balance.

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