A new year brings the perfect opportunity to make positive financial changes and develop better financial habits. It’s time to examine your finances and your financial goals and start on the path to a more financially fit new year. Let’s count down 5 financial tips to ring in 2023.

5 Develop a budget that enables you to live within your means

Living within our means is a big challenge for many of us, especially with the rising cost of living. We tend to outspend our income, leaving us with high credit card balances and other debt. The challenges this year are not going away anytime soon, so it’s best to plan to address those challenges and provide greater financial stability. Begin by reviewing your expenses and breaking them into categories. This would include fixed, variable, and periodic expenses. A thorough review of your expenses will give you an idea of areas you may be able to save, such as eliminating certain subscriptions or cutting back on dining out. Read our “9 Tips to Reduce Your Expense” for more cost-cutting ideas. Developing a strict budget can keep your expenses more in line with your income.

4 Address your credit card debt 

Speaking of high credit card balances, they could quickly become overwhelming. This is especially true if you are struggling to make the minimum payments, are late with payments, or are skipping payments. Your credit card debt will just keep growing. Debt consolidation might be a good option for those who have high variable interest-rate card balances. Debt consolidation can help you consolidate those higher balances into one fixed-rate payment. This might enable you to focus on paying your debt down faster. We encourage you to learn more about Guthrie Community Credit Union’s balance transfer credit card, which features no annual fee or balance transfer fees, and a low non-variable rate. Guthrie CCUs personal loans are another option for paying down high-rate credit cards and other debt. It’s time to take control of your debt.

3 Save first 

Most of us tend to spend before we save. We should actually be doing the opposite.  A certain percentage of each paycheck should be set aside for savings. This can be accomplished easily by setting up automatic deductions directly from your paycheck to a dedicated account. To accomplish your various goals, you may have one saving account earmarked for a down payment on a new home, one to find your children’s education, and of course the all-important emergency fund. Once you make savings a priority, you’ll already be better off financially.

2 Focus on retirement savings 

Speaking of savings, a recent Bankrate survey found that 55% of Americans say their retirement savings are not where they need them to be. More than one-third of workers feel they are ‘significantly behind’ on their retirement savings. When it comes to retirement savings, the earlier the better. There is no better ally than compound interest, as it allows you to earn interest on your interest as your retirement fund grows. Be sure to meet any employer match on your 401(k) and save outside of work with your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Read our “Retirement Saving Benchmarks” to see how your savings stack up.

1 Join a credit union

The most important of our financial tips is to join a credit union. Credit Unions have a mission of helping to improve the financial well-being of their members and serving their communities. Since we’re discussing improving your financial welfare in the coming year, making a move to Guthrie Community Credit Union or to your local credit union is a good idea. There are many essential benefits of credit union membership which include:

  • A higher level of customer service and customer satisfaction.
  • Better rates on loans and savings accounts.
  • Support of the communities in which they operate.

Credit Unions also provide a wealth of financial information and tips to help you improve your financial health. Examples include tips for improving your credit score and strategies to save on taxes.

The start of a new year is the ideal time to think about changes you want to make to your financial life. Most importantly resolve to pay close attention to your budget all year. It’s time for the fresh start you’ve been hoping for!