Though it may be hard to believe, it is almost 2022! As we approach the end of this year and the beginning of a new one, it is a natural time to reflect and plan ahead. This is also a great time to think about and plan towards your financial goals. Financial assessing and planning are especially important and useful during this time of unexpected changes due to the ongoing pandemic. Planning ahead for 2022 is a great way to set yourself up for financial success, you can start with the following tips. 

  • Do an audit for 2021. Going through your 2021 financial history is an incredibly useful way to understand your spending and saving habits which can help you identify what you need to work on to move towards your goals. Gather your bills, statements, receipts, etc. from 2021 and track your spending. Take note of your monthly income, spending, and savings. Did you overspend? If so, in what areas (food, clothing, entertainment, bills, etc.)? Overspending is a common and major cause of financial challenges so identifying the source(s) can help you determine what areas you need to cut back on which can prevent overspending as well as help with savings. Also, take note of patterns that could be preventing you from saving adequately: experiencing a decrease in income, unexpected expenses, an increase in debt, etc. 


  • Create a budget. Doing a self-audit of your financial history in 2021 is also a helpful way to develop a budget for 2022. Creating a budget is an important way to live within your means and also stay on track with your financial goals. Your budget should include allocating your income to living expenses, savings, and other financial obligations like debt repayment. Also, earmark funds for yearly costs associated with birthdays and holidays as well as car maintenance and health-related expenses. You can use various applications to help create a budget – this includes downloading an app or using spreadsheets. Developing your big-picture budget helps you identify what you can spend and how much you can save. This can prevent overspending, help you prepare for unanticipated expenses, and navigate your expenses with greater control and ease. 


  • Manage your debt. Debt does not have to be burdensome or overwhelming to navigate. Most people in the U.S. have some level of debt whether that is a mortgage or student loan.  By planning and taking proactive steps to tackle debt, you can manage it effectively. There are different methods you can use to do this include organizing all of your debts from smallest to largest and allocating the greatest amount to paying off the smallest. This knocks out the smallest debt at one time which you can keep doing until you get to the largest debt. Be sure to set up notifications so your repayments are received on time. 


  • Prepare for the unexpected. Emergencies or unanticipated expenses are a part of life. Not being prepared for these curveballs can create financial strain or hardship. Be sure to set aside money for unexpected expenses. This can help you prepare as best as possible for these expenses  


  • Additional tips. There are various additional ways you can save on costs and increase your savings. This includes: 
  • switch to a credit card with great rewards. Earning rewards with your credit card purchases includes receiving points for cashback that can go towards travel discounts. 
  • get a new job or ask for a raise – this increases your monthly income, providing greater opportunity to achieve your financial goals. 
  • review your subscriptions and cancel what you do not use. This includes cable, streaming services, music subscriptions, etc. 
  • automate your savings which allocates money into your savings account automatically. You can gradually increase this amount monthly to continue building. 
  • talk to your partner about your financial goals and establish goals together. 
  • integrate sustainable living by shopping second-hand or engaging in do-it-yourself (DIY) projects.
  • Consider investing funds that can help build your savings. 
  • review your insurance plans and switch to plans that offer the greatest coverage and cost savings. 
  • download apps that can help you with budgeting, tracking spending, alerts for payments, etc. 

 

Take the time to financially plan for 2022 which can help you have a more easeful year that effectively supports achieving your financial goals.