Tips to Refresh Your Finances and Reach Your Goals
educating-myself | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Bob Juliano | Published: September 2023
Revisiting your budget and financial situation regularly plays an important role in achieving your goals, particularly when facing economic headwinds like inflation and rising interest rates.
A recent WSFS study found that 77% in the region were confident they would be able to meet their personal financial goals, despite 34% who were not confident they could afford rising costs of living.
While many consumers wait for the New Year to reevaluate their finances, doing so now can provide an opportunity to get a head start on your goals for the future.
Here are tips to help you refresh your finances and reach your goals.
Revisit Your Budget and Adjust Accordingly
Spending habits have changed drastically for many consumers in recent years because of the pandemic, soaring inflation and rising interest rates.
These recent economic conditions make it more vital to keep a close eye on your budget and make regular adjustments to avoid a deficit.
A great place to start is by reviewing your online or mobile banking. These tools can provide a quick snapshot of your day-to-day finances in almost real-time so you can see where you may be overspending and make cuts.
Look for things like unused subscription services or takeout orders that you could skip in place of making your meal at home to find additional savings.
Planning ahead can also allow you more time to hunt for bargains. If you know you have regular purchases of products with a longer shelf life, consider looking for deals at big box retailers. It’s never too early to get started on your holiday shopping list either, and buying early may help you find a better price.
Keep an Eye on Your Credit
With interest rates still on the rise, it is even more important to utilize credit and loans responsibly to avoid overextending yourself.
A good starting point is to ensure you know your credit score – generally anything above 700 is considered good – and what impacts your score like length of credit, payment history, credit utilization and mix.
Your credit score can impact your goals in a variety of ways. If you find yourself with a less than stellar score, you’ll want to take steps to improve it, such as paying down high interest loans and improving your debt-to-income ratio, before borrowing.
Whenever possible, ensure you’re paying your credit card balances in full each month to avoid accruing interest. Checking your credit report periodically – at least once a year – can also help you find inaccuracies or even fraudulent items and have them removed from your report.
Set Goals for the Future
Goal setting is important in many aspects of life, whether it’s in school, at your job or for your finances.
Think about your future and the financial milestones you would like to reach. Now put a timeline on when you want to achieve those goals.
If you’re looking to save a certain amount in the next three years for a new car, minor adjustments to your saving and spending habits can help make a big difference over time. One good option is setting up passive savings where a portion of each of your paycheck is placed into your savings account rather than your checking account used for day-to-day purchases. Remember, little bits can add up in a big way over time.
If you find you need help putting a plan in place to reach your goals, consider scheduling an appointment with your local banker, who can help evaluate your current financial situation and build a plan.
About the Author – Robert Juliano
Bob Juliano is Vice President, Director of Corporate Giving & Financial Literacy at WSFS Bank. He is a financial education expert for the Bank and has taught K-12 financial literacy to thousands of children.
The study was conducted by research company Opinium. The sample includes 1,000 national respondents and 1,001 in the Greater Philadelphia and Delaware region who reside in five southeastern Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia), four southern New Jersey counties (Atlantic, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester), and all three Delaware counties (Kent, Sussex and New Castle). All respondents were ages 18+. The online survey was conducted from February 28-March 8, 2023, with a combined regional and national margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
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