Money Monday: Time for a Financial Check-up

Keeping track of your financial goals.

Posted: 03/11/2013 08:00 AM EDT

Can you believe that we are already three months into the New Year? With time moving by so quickly, you might be feeling a little anxious about accomplishing all that you set out to do this year. When creating a financial management plan with specific goals, it’s so important to set aside time to check in on your progress. In addition to checking your budget regularly, it’s a good habit to schedule quarterly check-ins or “check-ups” to ensure you’re still on track with your financial goals and to recalibrate if necessary.

Here are a few tips to consider:

Getting Started

Take a look at where you were financially when you set your goal and compare it to where you are now. Ask yourself these questions to determine your next steps:

—     How am I tracking towards my goal; am I behind, on track or ahead?

—     Have I saved as planned and stayed within my budget?

—     Where might there be areas to trim expenses even further?

—     Where should I re-allocate the extra money from bills that are now paid off?

—     Now that I have a better understanding of my financial picture, am I being realistic about my financial goals? Can I do more, or am I being too aggressive?

Is Your Budget Off Track?

Be honest with yourself and try not to make excuses if you find yourself off track.

Are you spending money faster than it comes in — or perhaps unexpected expenses are impacting your budget? Whatever the case, it’s never too late to start over. Reset your priorities and make a renewed commitment to avoid overspending.

Create a new spending plan that includes all of your monthly expenses and make adjustments where necessary.

Also try scheduling weekly spending alerts where you are automatically notified regarding your expenses — many checking accounts and credit cards have this option.

Are You Prepared for Unexpected Expenses?

Unexpected emergencies such as income loss, household repair or major medical bills can cause a significant financial burden for you and your family and totally throw your budget off track. Taking a few steps to prepare for such emergencies will help you provide a financial cushion so you’re able to avoid abandoning your financial goals in the event of an emergency.

Revisit your budget to see where you can trim expenses and re-allocate those funds to an emergency account. It’s best to save for emergencies in a separate account where you won’t be tempted to use the money. Even if it is a small amount, every penny counts when you have unexpected expenses.

So how’d you do? Remember, it’s OK to allow yourself a few indulgences (that are within your budget) every once in a while, but stick within your limit to maintain your long-term savings goals. Reward yourself when you reach important financial milestones. However, make sure you determine what that reward will be in advance and make sure it is planned within your budget.

Visit My Financial Guide at www.myfinancialguide.com for more tips, tools and resources on managing your budget.

This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. The accuracy and completeness of this information is not guaranteed and is subject to change. Since each individual’s financial situation is unique, you need to review your financial objectives to determine which approaches might work best for you.

 © 2013 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved.

 

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