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New Year's Financial Resolutions

Should old finances be forgot, and never brought to mind? It may be a new year, but your financial decisions of the past are still here. The beginning of the year is a great time to sit down and evaluate your spending: past, present and future. Here are a few tips and tools to help you start 2012 on the right financial foot.

Plan ahead

It's never too early to start saving for the next holiday season. Many banks offer special holiday savings accounts that you can contribute to periodically or can set up to automatically withdraw funds from your paycheck.  Or, when you plan your budget, be sure to include savings for this year's holiday season or any other event that you can anticipate (such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc).

Track everything

Maybe not all year, but tracking every cent you spend for the first few weeks of the new year can give you a clearer picture of what you’re spending on, and what you can cut out. Once you have a grasp of what you are spending, you will be able to develop a more realistic monthly budget to keep you on track and out of debt. 

Start small

Often the start of a new year brings an onslaught of resolutions, many of which may or may not actually stay to see Valentine’s Day. So instead of trying a total revamp of your financial habits all at once, take it a step at a time. Cut out your mocha-frappe-latte-chino one week, bring your lunch from home the next, then put the money you saved into an account. A small change a week can add up to big savings in the end.  

Commit

Make a commitment to these and other positive financial behaviors. One year from now you'll look back and commend yourself for setting goals for a successful financial future.

And remember, help is out there if you need it. Whether you Ask A CPA online, or meet with someone in person, don’t let your lack of financial answers lead you to financial despair.  For more information on rebuilding your finances, click here.