The holidays are over, the bills are starting to come in, and as you start to prepare for tax season, you may be looking at your bank account balance, 401(k) statements and wonder where did the year go and you are not as ahead as you wanted to be. Are you spending too much and not saving enough? The first step is to organize your finances. List out all of your monthly expenses, how much you are contributing to savings accounts, and work to have a little more left over each month. Maybe you have debt that you have been paying down, which should also be a priority to get rid of. In 2016, the way to improve your finances is to reduce spending, increase savings, and contribute more toward 401(k).
A good way to reduce spending is to look at your expenses and see where you can cut corners. Shop around for different phone carriers, cable providers, car & home insurance companies, or if mortgage rates are lower than you currently have, it may be time to refinance, all of which could save you hundreds of dollars each month. With the leftover money you need to increase your savings. If it seems difficult, gradually increase direct deposits, and any merit increases received, increase savings by that much so you will not notice a pay increase and tempted to spend it. The next step would be to be further ahead to long-term financial planning, increasing contributions towards 401(k). First rule would be to contribute as much as your employer matches or you are just throwing away free money. 401(k) might not be the first on your mind as maybe you are just getting by paycheck to paycheck, or more interested with paying bills, putting money in a savings account, and having money left for entertainment, but planning for your future should be a priority, especially going into your 30’s and beyond.
One thing we are not taught at a young age is personal finance, maybe we should, or maybe I did not listen, but it is never too late to start. Debt can be a scary thing, feeling that you may never get out of it, getting by without savings accounts increasing, but with discipline and patience, you can turn things around, but it has to start and end with you, so take notice in 2016 to improve your finances.