New Year’s resolutions can be great inspiration, but have you considered making smaller goals throughout the year instead? We believe that by implementing bite-sized to-dos, you’ll be better prepared to stay on track with all your financial goals.
To get you started, we created a month-to-month guide with themes and weekly tasks to focus on. No, it’s not homework, but we know you’ll pass with flying colors!
January: Get organized
Take this month to get organized and start from the beginning.
Week 1: Gather all usernames and passwords for your accounts and store them in a “password locker” app for safekeeping and easy access. Consider signing up for online banking alerts.
Week 2: Write down your bills’ due dates on a paper calendar or an app on your phone.
Week 3: Clear out clutter, digital and paper. Shred old documents, especially those with personal information. Keep at least 1-3 years’ worth of tax information.
Week 4: Decide how you’re going to stay organized during the year. Spreadsheets? Digital apps? Make sure it keeps your data secure.
Check out Auburn OnLine for additional organizational tools such as customized budgets, BillPay, and transaction trackers.
February: Have a “Money Date”
Whether you’re partnered or not, this month is all about spending quality time while setting financial goals for the future.
Week 1: Mark the calendar and dedicate a time to discuss finances. Write down which topics you’d like to tackle.
Week 2: Date Night! Share your lists and talk about your goals, big and small. Decide which goals will be priorities for 2023.
Weeks 3-4: Create a monthly budget to follow for the year. Include your bills due dates and your goals into your budget.
Did You Know? Those who write down their goals, share them, and check their weekly progress, see a 76% success rate in achieving their goals.
March: Tax Prep!
When you feel prepared and knowledgeable, taxes are no big deal!
Week 1: Gather all W2s and any tax information needed to file your 2022 taxes. Consider any tax deductions or credits you might be eligible for.
Week 2: Are you filing your own taxes or will you be hiring a professional? If you need a professional, make an appointment ASAP!
Weeks 3-4: File your 2022 taxes! Save all pertinent information in a safe place.
Note: Taxes are due April 18, 2023.
Automation allows you to pay bills on time, avoid late fees, and keep your accounts in good standing—all with little hassle. It’s a win-win! You can set up BillPay with your Auburn Savings accounts by visiting a branch location or logging onto Auburn OnLine.
Week 1: Determine which of your monthly expenses can be paid automatically. These are typically (but not always) bills that are the same amount due each month. This makes for easy budgeting, too!
Week 2: Evaluate your subscription services. If you find you no longer need or use them, cancel them!
Weeks 3-4: Sign up for Auburn Savings BillPay! Refer to the list you made back in week one of April.
May: Think about healthcare costs
Your physical, mental, and emotional health are incredibly important and can impact your financial health.
Week 1: Consider your healthcare costs throughout the year. How much do you spend on insurance premiums, co-pays, prescriptions, and emergencies? Write everything down for easy reference later.
Week 2: Could you benefit from an HSA? Check your insurance policy to see if it’s HSAqualified. HSA contributions are tax deductible and withdrawals made for medical expenses are tax free*
Weeks 3-4: Create an HSA account with Auburn Savings by visiting either branch location and begin depositing funds for your healthcare costs!
*An HSA is a tax-advantaged account used specifically for healthcare costs. Deposits can be made automatically to your HSA account by withdrawing directly from your paycheck, making this easy to incorporate into your financial plan.
June: How’s your car?
They say your car reflects your personality, but is it costing you more than you can afford?
Week 1: Think about your vehicle. Does it need maintenance, repairs, or does it need to be replaced soon? How does this fit into your budget?
Week 2: Write out how much you spend on gas, car insurance, maintenance, registration, and repairs. If you drive for work, track your mileage for a tax deduction!
Week 3: Determine how much you can set aside each month for your car’s expenses. Consider this money as your “car emergency fund.”
Week 4: Are you purchasing a new car? What monthly payment can you afford? Keep in mind that insurance and registration costs will also increase with a new car.
If a new or new-to-you car is the best route, you can check current rates and apply online for an Auburn Savings auto loan.
July: Save, save, save.
We’re halfway through the year! How’s your saving going? Sometimes saving money gets pushed to the back burner. Don’t feel discouraged if it seems to take a long time—saving money requires patience.
Week 1: Check on your savings accounts. How’s your emergency fund? Are you staying on budget? Are you able to save more each month?
Week 2: Automate your savings like you automate paying bills! This helps you reach your savings goals that much easier.
Week 3: Only five months until the holiday season! Do you need a Christmas Club account? This account allows you to deposit a specific amount to accrue interest and only be withdrawn on its “maturity date.” Funds can be for holiday shopping, a family vacation, or even winter heating costs. It’s the ultimate short-term savings account.
Week 4: Think about bigger picture savings goals, too. Write them down.
August: How’s your debt?
The more you’re familiar with your debts and debt solutions, the more empowered you’ll be. The hardest part is getting started!
Week 1: Consider all your debts. This includes medical bills, credit cards balances, student loans, and other debt. Write down their current balance, monthly payment amount, interest rates, and input it into your spreadsheet or phone app.
Week 2: Look back at your progress. Are you paying down the balances? Are you behind on payments? Paying only the minimum amount? Add these details to the spreadsheet you created last week.
Week 3: Determine which debts to prioritize. There are many tactics—smallest balance first, highest interest rate first. The solution will be individual to your specific financial situation. Check out these common debt scenarios for guidance.
Week 4: Should you consolidate debt? A personal loan with Auburn Savings could combine your debts into one monthly payment. This is beneficial if you have varying balances and interest rates. One monthly payment makes it easier to pay off debt and will save you money in the long run.
September: Educate your children (and yourself)
It’s back to school season and we’re embracing financial education!
Weeks 1-4: Introduce your children to KidsPlus and have them start completing some of the fun activities! Be transparent with them. By exposing money concepts to your kids early and often, they’ll be more knowledgeable and empowered as adults. Talk about money when you’re shopping, paying bills, and making the family budget. Answer their questions as best you can.
If you don’t have children, revisit your own financial education! Maybe you’d like to learn about investing, cryptocurrency or compound interest. It’s never too late to expand your financial literacy.
October: Revisit your budget + spending
Spend this month looking back on your spending and budgeting so far this year. Don’t be spooked—confront any money fears head on!
Week 1: Revisit the budget you created back in February. What’s working or not working? Are you earning less, earning more? Spending less, spending more? Write it down.
Week 2: Think ahead to your holiday list. Be as specific as possible listing out the people you’ll be gifting to, along with items, prices, and stores you’ll shop at.
Weeks 3-4: Using your list (and checking it twice), make a holiday budget. A specific amount for holiday gifts will keep you accountable and will help to avoid tempting sales and impulse purchases.
November: Prepare for 2024
We’re thinking back to the start of 2023 and the goals that we set for the year and how they may impact our goals for next year.
Weeks 1-4: Start to think about your goals for 2024. Ask yourself a lot of questions. What worked this year? What didn’t? Are you anticipating changes in 2024? Starting a family? Buying a house? Getting a new job? Moving? Retiring?
If you didn’t achieve all your goals, remind yourself that it isn’t a failure. Consider this an opportunity to readjust goals for next year.
December: A time for giving
‘Tis the season for charitable giving!
Weeks 1-4: Think back to July when you made your savings goals. What, if any, did you create for charitable giving? Consider how you will be giving back this month. Remember you can also gift your time, skills, or expertise to a charity or organization that’s meaningful
Also talk about charitable giving with your children. Refer to KidsPlus on how to raise generous givers during the holidays and beyond.
Having goals and aspirations is easy, but committing to them can be challenging. By breaking your goals down into smaller tasks, your goals begin to feel achievable. This gives you time to reflect and adjust as you steadily and surely make progress on your goals. You got this!