A Look at Five Financial New Year’s Resolutions
January is a time for New Year’s resolutions. While some may decide to hit the gym or eat healthier, others may be interested in adopting smarter financial habits. Below is a list of financial New Year’s resolutions to consider in 2024.
Increase your Savings
Increasing the amount of money in your savings is one of the most popular financial New Year’s resolutions. Saving more could mean increasing your 401(k) contributions, cutting back on recurring subscription payments, or saying no to that drive-through cup of Joe on the way to work. Creating a monthly budget is also a great way to increase your savings, as doing so will give you a better understanding of your expenditures and the amount of disposable income you have. If you’re looking to increase your income, consider pursuing a side hustle.
Improve your Credit Score
There are numerous ways one can work to improve one’s credit score. Paying bills on time is the easiest way to do so. You can also limit the number of credit cards you apply for. Each time you apply for a new credit card, the card issuer pulls your credit report, which can negatively impact your credit score. Additionally, paying off debt can improve your credit score. By increasing your savings, as already mentioned, you can work to pay off the debt you have.
Opt into Credit Monitoring
Security measures like credit monitoring or identity theft protection can alert you of possible fraud on your account. While some financial institutions impose a monthly fee for these services, for many, it’s included with your account. Gulf Winds members have the peace of mind of free fraud monitoring, which can detect fraudulent or suspicious use of your account before you are even aware of it. Members who use Gulf Winds Visa credit cards may receive text, phone, or email fraud alerts if a card is suspected of being used fraudulently. For more information on fraud prevention, check out Gulf Winds’ Security Essentials web page.
Create an Emergency Fund
According to Bankrate’s 2023 annual emergency savings report, only 48% of Americans say they have enough emergency savings to cover three months’ worth of expenses. That said, opening an account for the use of unexpected expenses is always a smart idea, as doing so can keep you financially on track with your everyday expenditures. A general rule of thumb for emergency accounts is to save anywhere from three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Over time, it is also wise to increase your emergency savings contributions. While emergency funds are primarily used for unexpected expenses, they can also help pay for necessities like housing and food if you were to become unemployed.
Improve Financial Literacy
Becoming more financially literate is one of the easiest and most fruitful New Year’s resolutions you can make. Improving your financial literacy can empower you to make more informed financial decisions, which can improve your overall financial well-being. One way to improve your financial literacy is by setting aside time throughout the week to educate yourself on financial topics. Reading up on these topics is the best way to do so, whether that be via books by financial experts or online resources, such as Gulf Winds’ Save.Spend.Live blog. Attending workshops or seminars on financial topics is also a great way to improve your financial literacy, as they can allow you to interact with and ask questions of those in the know. Further, keeping up to date with the advice of financial experts via podcasts or social media posts can help you become more financially literate.
No matter what time of year it may be, adopting smart financial habits is always in style. All you need to do is put in the effort. Happy New Year!
Your Financial Well-Being, Our Commitment
At Gulf Winds, we're committed to catering to the diverse needs of our members. We believe that your financial well-being is essential, and we're here to support you every step of the way.
Hunter has freelanced for various print publications across Northwest Florida, including The Bay Beacon, Navarre Press, Inweekly, and Crestview News Bulletin. He was also the Editor in Chief of the University of West Florida’s student newspaper, The Voyager. In 2022, he was named Best Radio News Reporter by the Southeastern Journalism Conference. Hunter earned his B.A. in Communication Arts/Journalism from the University of West Florida. For fun, Hunter enjoys traveling, visiting museums, photography, thrifting, spending time in the great outdoors, and looking for the best Thai food around.