As 2016 comes to an end, it’s a great time to start thinking about your finances. Whether you blew your monthly budget goals more than you hit them, or even set a budget at all, now is the time to take stock of how you spent your income this year and set goals for saving and spending for 2017.
Use the following tips to get a handle on where you were financially in 2016:
- Find Your Net Worth
Use the handy calculator from our friends at CNN to add up your Assets (like stocks and bonds, savings, value of properties you own, etc) and your Expenses (mortgages, loans and other debts) to find your Net Worth.
Happy with the final number? Then keep doing what you’ve been doing. Not happy? It’s time to make a change – with step #2.
- Create A Budget That Works For You
Set aside a few hours for this part. Get together your monthly bills and paystubs and take stock of the amount of money coming in each month versus going out. You can use online tools such as Mint.com or an online budgeting tool (like this one from Kiplinger) to sort through it all. Make sure that you have a goal in mind – whether it’s to put more money toward debt or save more, so you can make tough decisions about spending in order to meet them.
- Get Your Family Involved in the Process
An important part of setting a budget and sticking to it is getting your entire family involved in the process. Sit down as a family and discuss your priorities. If it’s saving for college or paying off debt, make charts to track your progress. Put out a jar and ask everyone in the family to add their spare change to it and put it toward a fun, family activity or vacation. Whatever your strategy, be sure that your kids understand so that the next time they find the latest “must-have”, they will understand why you say no for the sake of the family financial goals.
- Stick To It!
Sticking to a family budget and improving your family’s financial health is hard work. It’s tempting to throw in the towel in favor of a nice dinner out or unplanned get-away. Don't do it! Make sure your family budget includes some “fun money” and use it! This will help you to limit your indulgences while still allowing them and will get you closer to your financial goals. Don’t forget to consult with your money experts at Solidarity for all your financial needs. Our member services representatives are here to help you! Find the branch or ATM location nearest you.