Tip no.1 is to write down your Financial SMART Goals. What are SMART goals? Smart goals are goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound. Below is a definition of each of the S.M.A.R.T. goal criteria:
Specific: Make sure you are specific with your goals. Where or what is your money going to go toward? For example, instead of saying “I would like to spend less money this year,” you should say: “I would like to start saving more money to contribute more to my child’s future education or to contribute more to my 401k.”
Measurable: How much money are you going to start saving? Include a specific number. A great example of this would be, “I would like to start saving $1,000 a month for my child’s education.”
Actionable: What actions do you need to take in order to achieve your goals? Always attach an action to your goals. For example, “I will install direct deposit on my checking account so that my bank automatically transfers the money to my child’s education fund.”
Realistic: Make sure your goal is realistic and that you’re passionate about it. If you don’t truly believe you can achieve this goal, you’re doomed from the start.
Time Bound: How much time will it take you to achieve this goal? 1 month, 6 months, 1 year. Visualize the day you achieve your goal and how accomplished you’re going to feel.

Tip no. 2 is to get a financial check-up. This is important because in order to make your next financial move you need to know where you currently stand. A net worth statement allows you to add up your assets (what you own); then subtract your liabilities (what you owe). This will show you whether you’re in the + (green) or the – (red). By getting a financial check-up you can plan and prioritize your savings and spending for this year.

Tip no.3 Make sure to create a spending plan. Now that you’ve made your list of goals and you’ve completed your financial check-up, it’s time to plan for the future. Use our Spending Plan worksheet (page 4) to itemize your monthly expenses, both your essentials and non-essentials. Sometimes it’s helpful to just automate these line items.
More tips: When you are about to buy something, make sure it’s in line with you financial goals for the year. If you spend more than you had planned, adjust your plan. Don’t fall into more debt than you can handle.

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