5 Ways to Keep Your Finances on Track This Year

You’ve set your New Year’s resolutions and goals that you want to accomplish this year, but do you have a plan of how you’re going to accomplish them? Many resolutions involve finances, for example, like saving more money or creating a budget and sticking to it. According to statistics from a 2021 New Year Resolutions survey, respondents ranked the importance of saving money just under half percent at 48%. The survey also indicated that only a small percentage of people who make resolutions actually keep them, making it ideal that you have a plan in place to help you achieve your goals for the New Year. Resolutions that include your finances can be easy to stay on top of and accomplish with First Bank’s help.

Below are five ways First Bank can help you keep track of and accomplish your financial resolutions this year.

1. Evaluate your budget quarterly.

Creating a budget and sticking to it can be challenging throughout the course of the year. Your financial obligations, your source of income, how much you make, and your employment status can all change. These are all contributing factors that can affect your budget in a positive or negative way. A survey published on PR Newswire found that more people are budgeting now than in previous years. In fact, 88% of respondents in the survey indicated that budgeting has helped them get out of debt or stay out of debt. The survey also identified that 40% of respondents say budgeting is a family affair and can help the household stay on budget. To ensure your budget it still meeting your needs month after month, it’s ideal to re-assess your budget at least quarterly and confirm that you are still allocating the appropriate amount to each of your financial responsibilities, as well as to your emergency fund, and your retirement. If you need help assessing your finances and analyzing your spending, our Household Cash Flow Calculator can help. This will allow you to identify how much money you are bringing in and where it’s being spent.

Read more on Establishing Your Budget.

2. Set saving goals for large expenses early.

If you are aware of any large expenses you will incur in the future, such as a down payment for purchasing a new home through First Bank Mortgage, a family vacation this summer, or holiday gifts, set your saving goals early and allocate money toward those goals throughout the year. By the time you need the funds for that goal, you will already have enough saved. Our Plinqit Savings App can help streamline your saving process by automatically transferring a set amount of funds, at a cadence set by you, to your savings goal through a secured connection from your First Bank accounts. Set it, forget it, and watch your savings grow!

Learn more about Savings Funds to Start as a 20-Something.

3. Put aside money for your emergency fund each pay period.

One important fund you should be saving for is your emergency fund. An emergency fund can be convenient when an emergency occurs, like a necessary vehicle repair or unexpected medical bills. Knowing that you have funds set aside for emergencies can help ease the financial burden you could experience. Assess your finances and determine a dollar amount that you are comfortable with contributing to your emergency fund each pay period. Over time, the consistency of adding funds will create a financial cushion to rely on during an emergency.

For more on emergency funds, read Starting Your Emergency Savings Fund.

4. Open a college savings account for future education expenses.

If you or your children plan on attending college, consider opening a College Savings Account. College savings accounts are a great way to save for college expenses while receiving tax advantages. According to a recent report on the average cost of college and tuition, the cost of college has tripled over 20 years, with the annual cost growth rate at 6.8%. Over time, the cost of college is expected to continue rising, so saving as early and as effectively as possible is the best way to be prepared for higher education costs in the future.

First Bank can assist you with two college savings options to help you save, the Coverdell Education Savings account and 529 Plans. Both offer different benefits and advantages to make the most of your college saving.

5. Check in on your retirement savings.

We all want to be able to retire one day, and saving for your retirement is crucial in order to meet that goal. No matter what your lifestyle will look like in retirement, it’s ideal to start saving as soon as you are financially able to do so. The earlier you save, the better off financially you will be after your working years. According to a CNBC report, only 36% of people think their retirement savings are on track. In addition, the report indicated that most workers don’t have sufficient retirement savings and aren’t allocating enough funds to help them catch up. If you are unsure of how much you should be saving or have questions about your retirement savings strategy, reach out to a First Bank Wealth Management financial advisor for guidance on achieving your long-term financial goals.

The beginning of the year is an ideal time to set goals for the upcoming year, but it’s important that you have plans in place to help you stay on track and measure your progress. If you are interested in learning more about how First Bank’s products and services can help you achieve your financial goals this year and beyond, contact a trusted First Bank representative.