allU.S. Credit Union wants to set everyone up for a more perceptive, successful and empowering financial year and January is the month to organize yourself financially.

ORGANIZE YOUR BUDGET, which is the first step of setting up a concrete financial strategy for 2016.  Studies show that people who make certain commitments related to their cash flow will feel more financially secure and may even begin to carry less debt.  Review L Bee and the Money Tree to get some tips on getting your finances in tiptop shape in 2016.

COMMIT TO SAVING – At one time or another in our lives we have lived paycheck to paycheck.  But when you make enough money to cover your expenses but still live paycheck to paycheck, that is a recipe for disaster.  How about kicking off your savings with a $1,000 deposit to a rainy day fund and work your way up from there.  Additionally, it will be important to save for emergencies and think about preparing for retirement. 

CRUNCH THE NUMBERS – It’s time to break out the calculator and subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly income.  This will give you a good idea how much extra cash is available for your savings account, debt payoff or even a small investment.  If you need some help keeping track of everything there are many finance apps out there to help or even an Excel sheet to track your finances during the year.  If you need some digital money tools to help your finances, here’s the lowdown on their use.

SEPARATE YOUR NEEDS FROM THE WANTS – Is it time to do some soul-searching and eliminate the “essential” expenses from the “I want” expenses?  Research shows that people who are the most financially successful understand sacrifice.  You certainly don’t have to do away with all your wants, but you should narrow them down so they fit into your new 2016 budget.  For example, how much could you save if you don’t stop at Starbucks every morning or you give yourself a manicure at home? 

TAKE SOME ACTION – Something that works for me is allocating a fraction of your paycheck to pay off a certain credit card or automatically put a portion into your savings even before it hits your account.  That way you are putting your needs first before tackling the I wants.

THINK LONG-TERM – Do you know how much money you need to achieve your long-term goals?  Have you sat down and calculated how much you will have to save for the down payment on your dream home or that business you want to start in several years?  If you don’t know what you want to accomplish in your life then you won’t know what financial goals you will need to make those goals happen.  So, try and get a clear picture on what you want your life to look like!

INVEST IN YOURSELF – If you want to enjoy your life then you need to invest in yourself.  If that means furthering your education, preparing for retirement or opening that small business, it’s the best thing you can do with your money.  And, if you are currently in a sound financial position, don’t be afraid to invest in something that makes you happy that won’t always earn you cash back. 

Now that you have the information to kick-start your finances in 2016, what are you waiting for?