Managing money is often a top New Year’s resolution for Americans. In fact, 34 percent of Americans make money-related resolutions at the beginning of a new year, according to the 2016 Brain Research Institute. Unfortunately, only 46 percent of people who make a resolution maintain it longer than six months and only 8 percent achieve their goals.

Data from a consumer survey conducted by the Ohio Credit Union League revealed that 70 percent of Ohioans are looking forward to a milestone event in 2017, such as a wedding, the birth of a baby, or a vacation, all of which require months of planning and budgeting.

Well, the New Year isn’t quite so new — everyone’s back at work, school and other routines — and the holiday bills are rolling in. Creating a household budget was an easy resolution to make on January 1 but it’s going to take some effort and planning to keep that budget going thoughout the year. So, what can you do to get on — and stay on — track?

Here are some practical first steps to getting your finances in order so that budget you’re creating will work:

  • Save receipts. It’s hard to know how to budget if you don’t have a good understanding of how you spend. Save your receipts for a month to track where you’re spending money. Then, add them up and compare your income. After doing this, ask yourself if you’re saving any money and what purchases maybe weren’t necessary.
  • Put the bare minimum in checking. Only put a budgeted amount of money into a checking account for spending each month and put the rest into a savings account. Making money less accessible can help you spend less.
  • Get a special savings account. Open a Holiday or Vacation account at your credit union. These types of savings accounts keep you from scrabbling before last minute events, which can ruin any budget, and only allow a certain number of withdrawals each year without being penalized monetarily.
  • Get a budgeting app. Download an app to your smartphone or tablet to help with budgeting. Many financial apps include budgeting platforms, monthly account monitoring, and tips for getting out of debt. According to the best 2017 mobile budgeting apps include Mint, PocketGuard, You Need a Budget, GoodBudget, and Mvelopes. Try some of them out and choose the one the works best for your budget and spending needs.

As always, Day Air Credit Union is here to help you on your financial journey. Contact us to find out how we can help you get on and stay on the path to financial success in 2017.

Source: Ohio Credit Union League (OCUL)

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