Looking for better financial planning in 2018?

Businesswoman check data in smartphone and tabletAccording to Principal Financial, 80 percent of Americans are making money-related resolutions that can end up changing their lives for the better. Unfortunately, financial planning doesn’t come easy for everyone.

Some people may not know where to start or the steps to take in order to get out of a lingering debt. If you’re looking for a place to begin, BBB has some tips to get you on the right track:

  • Track your spending. Whether your tracking the money you spend through an app or writing it on paper, tracking your spending is critical. This will help you see where your money is going rather than where you think it’s going.
  • Categorize your spending. Create categories based on necessities like housing or food and luxuries like travel, eating, etc.
  • Set up a budget. Once you have an idea where you are spending money, you can set up a realistic budget. There are free online tools to help you, so there is no need to spend a lot of money. Be cautious of scams, however, and never share personal identifying information unless you know the site is legitimate.
  • Save for the big things. Big purchases, such as vacation or holidays, can easily blow your budget. Avoid going into debt for these expenditures by saving up ahead of time and only spending what you are able to save. Many banks and credit unions offer savings clubs that might help.
  • Pay down debt and pay your bills on time. Choosing which debt to pay off first is up to you, the point is to get it your balance down and to pay your bills on time. Setting up automatic payment can prevent you from missing an important due date on a bill.
  • Keep track of your credit score. Credit scores are used by lenders to make decisions about whether or not to offer you credit, and what those terms (interest or down payment) will be. Your credit score is a decision-making tool that lenders use to help them anticipate how likely you are to repay your loan on time.

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