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Saving Strategies for the New Year

January is often viewed as a time for change, hope and optimism. We create resolutions that set the tone for how we want the coming year to develop and the goals we hope to accomplish along the way. However, one area that can easily be overlooked when thinking ahead is our wallets. Because January is recognized as Financial Wellness Month, we feel it’s the perfect time to evaluate your financial health so you can create practical, actionable strategies that will help you build a brighter financial year ahead. 

Start with a Reality Check

  • Track your spending. Knowledge is power. Before setting goals, spend a month tracking every penny. Use budgeting apps like C&N's MoneyManager which is built into your C&N digital banking, to paint a clear picture of your income and expenses. This honest self-assessment will reveal areas for potential savings and highlight spending habits that need tweaking.
  • Calculate your savings gap. Determine the difference between your income and essential expenses. This gap represents your potential savings pool, and understanding its size will help you set realistic saving goals.

Build Your Savings Ladder

  • Emergency Fund. Prioritize building an emergency fund that covers 3-6 months of living expenses. This safety net will protect you from unexpected financial shocks and prevent dipping into high-interest debt.
  • Short-Term Savings. Identify short-term goals like a vacation or down payment. Automate transfers to dedicated accounts for these goals, ensuring progress without relying on willpower.
  • Long-Term Savings. Retirement might seem distant, but time is your greatest asset. Start contributing to your retirement accounts early, even if it's a small amount. Maximize employer matches and consider increasing contributions as your income grows.

Embrace Smart Saving Hacks

  • Automate everything. Set up automatic transfers to savings accounts and investment platforms. This "set it and forget it" approach removes the temptation to spend and ensures consistent progress.
  • Round-up your purchases. Take advantage of C&N’s RoundUp&Save bundle to round up your daily transactions to the nearest dollar, automatically stashing the difference. These small, painless contributions can add up significantly over time.
  • Challenge yourself. Consider savings challenges like the 52-week challenge where you save a progressively increasing amount each week. This gamifies the process to keep you motivated.

Invest in Yourself

Financial wellness isn't only about numbers; it's about feeling empowered and secure. Invest in your knowledge by attending financial literacy workshops, reading personal finance books, and seeking professional advice if needed. The more you understand your finances, the more confident you'll be in making informed decisions.

Remember, Financial Wellness is a Journey

There will be bumps along the road. Unexpected expenses might arise, and progress might feel slow at times. But the key is to stay consistent, celebrate your wins (big or small), and learn from setbacks. By committing to these strategies and prioritizing financial well-being in 2024, you'll be well on your way to building a secure and fulfilling future.

Bonus Tip: Share your financial wellness journey! Talk to friends and family about your goals, encourage them to join you, and hold each other accountable. Building a supportive community will make the journey more enjoyable and keep you motivated.

Let's make Financial Wellness Month 2024 a catalyst for positive change. By taking control of your finances, you're not just saving money; you're investing in your future self and paving the way for a more prosperous and fulfilling life.