A Financially Improved You!
The New Year is the perfect time to make resolutions to help you achieve your financial goals. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider when ringing in 2023:
Refine your budget.
Developing or refining a budget is a great way to stay on track with your spending and savings goals. Start by writing down all your fixed expenses, such as rent/mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance, cell phone, groceries, and other necessary costs. Then you can get a better idea of how much money you have left over for flexible expenses, such as dining and entertainment costs. A clear budget can help you set guidelines for spending and help you identify areas where you could cut back and apply that money toward your savings goals or reduce any debt you may have.
Grow your savings.
Whether you want to save for college, retirement, or a new car, your savings goals should be specific, measurable, and time-bound. For example, your goal may be to save $700 for a vacation (specific) by depositing $100 a month into a Bethpage Savings Account (measurable) from January through July (time-bound). In addition to saving for specific goals and periodic expenses, you might want to consider establishing an emergency fund that can be used to cover unforeseen expenses.
Reduce your debt.
A great way to reduce the interest owed on credit cards is to refinance your debt at a lower rate with a credit card balance transfer or a personal loan. With a credit card balance transfer, you can move charges from a high-interest rate credit card to a new or existing credit card with a lower interest rate. With a debt consolidation personal loan, you can use the loan to pay off your high-interest credit card(s). Personal loans have a defined length of time for repayment so you know exactly how many consecutive monthly payments you must make to pay the loan in full. Debt refinancing methods will help you pay off your debt faster because more of your payment will apply to the principal balance rather than interest charges. Bethpage offers great rates on credit card balance transfers and personal loans.
Monitor your credit.
Your credit score, as well as the information in your credit report, can affect everything from loan approvals to employment opportunities. If you find your credit score is low, you can improve it by paying your bills on time and in full, paying off any debt owed, limiting how many new accounts you open, and cutting back on spending. It’s to your advantage to carefully review your credit report regularly to make sure there is no suspicious activity. If you spot fraud on your credit report, it’s important to report it immediately to the credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Reset your retirement accounts
If you have the opportunity to save for retirement through a 401(k), 403(b), or 457 plan through your employer, consider budgeting a set amount each month for your account. If your budget allows, it’s a good idea to increase your contributions as much as you can reasonably afford or at least enough to earn any matching contribution your employer may offer.
Enhance your knowledge.
There’s always something new to learn about your finances and financial goals. At Bethpage, we offer financial education through My Money 101, which features free online tutorials with tips on saving and budgeting. We also host free financial education seminars and webinars to help you set yourself up for financial success.