New Year, New Budget
Posted on December 12, 2018
By Jessica Smith - Branch Manager, Oakley
Just like avoiding chocolate and carbs, sticking to your budget is a New Year’s resolution that’s easier to make than to achieve. In fact, only two in five U.S. adults say they have a budget and keep close track of their spending throughout the year, according to a recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
If it’s common knowledge that tracking your personal finances helps maintain your financial health, why do Americans have such a difficult time doing it?
Financial planning and psychology experts believe the real reason people struggle with budgeting is psychological. According to the Journal of Consumer Psychology, humans only have a finite amount of willpower.
We can only restrict ourselves so long before we indulge. Just like dieting, people tend to see budgeting as restrictive; therefore, it’s often a struggle to preserve the motivation to stick with it.
As you set your financial resolutions for the New Year, here are some tips to help you exercise good budgeting habits and establish some personal fiscal discipline.
- Think before you spend: Always shop with a list, which helps curb tendencies toward “impulse buying.” Know your account balances before you go shopping so you can keep yourself in line.
- Take the time: Schedule time each week (or even daily) to review your accounts, including current balances and upcoming expenses. If you don’t feel you have enough time, find an app to make the process more efficient.
- Start small: It takes weeks to form a new habit, and the same thing applies to tracking your income and expenses. In the beginning, keep it simple. Set easily achievable goals so you can experience progress. If your spending plan is too complicated or restrictive, you will not stick to it.
- Talk it over: If you don’t even know where to start, consider seeking help from a trusted family member or a financial expert. Cinfed is dedicated to helping members with financial literacy and can offer resources to address your unique situation.
- Make saving automatic: When you direct deposit your paycheck, designate an amount to be placed in savings each time. Calculate your budget after you’ve had the savings set aside.
- Use tools: in addition to apps, many online planners and calculators can help you plan and monitor your budget. Most are available for free from reputable consumer education organizations.
If keeping to your budget is your New Year’s resolution, you have plenty of support to achieve it. To learn more about products and practices for keeping financially fit, see the Cinfed website or visit a Cinfed branch and speak with a representative who will give you the personal attention you deserve.