With the new year in full swing, now is your chance to start over. If you’ve made any financial new year resolutions, take action with real changes using a January financial checklist. Now that the holiday season is officially over, it’s time to reflect and look back on your past few months of spending. Take this time as an opportunity to organise your financial life in preparation for the year ahead.
Where do you get started? If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed by the idea of getting your finances in order, we’re here to help. We created this January checklist below to help you clear up your financial to-do list. It’s all about focusing on budgeting and planning for the future.
January Financial Checklist
Before we break down the January financial checklist, let’s talk about how it works. There are 5 main things we’ll focus on this month. First, we want to analyse the current status of your spending and savings. This means taking inventory of where your money is going as well as current debts.
In addition, we also want to set your bank account up for a year of success. This happens when you set a realistic budget, plan for bills, and create a way to track your finances long-term. Everything is broken down into 5 simple steps.
- Run a financial inventory
- Download a budgeting app
- Create a monthly budget
- Set payment reminders for bills and savings
- Make yearly goals
Step 1. Run a Financial Inventory
Taking a close look at your accounts and finances is easier said than done. A lot of people have anxiety around their bank account, and they’d rather turn a blind eye to these numbers. While it can be scary at first, running a financial inventory is essential to long-term success.
How is your spending? Do you need to cut back or make any changes in your habits? You’ll never know the answer to these questions unless you take stock of your current numbers. To get started, write down your balance for all of your bank accounts, as well as any expenses or debts owed regularly.
Step 2. Download a Budgeting App
Budgeting apps aren’t just a way to see how much money you spend on groceries, gas, and other essentials. They’re an effective way to track your spending in all areas without the stress. Forget the spreadsheets or saving receipts. Instead, use one of our recommended budgeting apps to stay accountable for your money.
Budgeting apps track and categorise your purchases in real-time. You don’t have to think about it. Just let the app do the work for you. Look back over your purchases for a regular week in your life. Did you overspend on holiday cheer? If so, you might need to be more careful in the future. Being responsible for your spending is the best way to bring real change.
Step 3. Create Your Budget
It’s time to start budgeting. A reported 86% of Australians don’t know how much they’re paying monthly on their current expenses. A budget is the best way to familiarise yourself with your spending habits and strengthen your financial habits.
Budgets aren’t only for those who are living paycheck to paycheck or who are saving for large financial goals. They’re for anyone looking to achieve a stronger financial future. You don’t need anything fancy to make your own budget. Our full guide to creating a budget will get you started.
Step 4. Set Payment Reminders
With the new year comes new payments. You might have different expenses, or you might just want to keep yourself more accountable this year. Set up automatic payment reminders so you never miss a payment again.
If possible, use automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about it. Similarly, don’t forget to pay yourself throughout the month. That means putting money aside for your emergency fund, debt payoff, and other goals.
Step 5. Make Yearly Goals
Last but not least, set goals for yourself. It’s not enough to say you want to “save more” this year. Instead, set realistic, achievable goals. Don’t forget to set time limits to make sure you’re keeping yourself accountable.
What goals are perfect for the new year?
- Save $1000 for your emergency fund
- Pay off one credit card debt
- Pay off another type of debt
- Save towards a family vacation
- Save a specific amount towards buying a home
All of these above are great ideas, but don’t let them limit you. They can also be lifestyle-focused, such as only eating out twice a week. Any change made towards a brighter financial future is worth celebrating.
Take Action This January
Now that you have the January financial checklist, you’re ready to take action. Setting goals and making a budget doesn’t get you far if you’re not willing to put in the work. Let these first steps guide you towards a year of better finances.
Do you need help with budgeting or debt payoff this January? It is always a good idea to review your plan with a professional. We’re here to help! The team at Debt Busters have over 15 years of experience helping Aussies regain financial freedom. Contact us today on 1300 368 322 to get started.