January is Financial Wellness Month: Looking at Your Finances After the Holidays

There is no better time to check in on your financial wellbeing than January. You have a complete year of habits to look back on, review and make changes accordingly.

What does financial wellbeing mean to you? For most people, it is feeling in control of their finances, living within their means and being prepared for emergencies or unplanned life changes. Diving deeper into your spending habits at the beginning of the year can help you be more mindful for the year ahead.

Setting yourself up for a prosperous year might mean looking into investing options, opening a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) for the first time, or making larger contributions to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). It could be as simple as deciding to cook more at home instead of ordering in. Or for some it may mean playing catch-up from the holidays first.

In any case, the simple act of reviewing, setting a budget and setting short and long term goals for yourself is always a good practice.

Review – Look back on last year. Often what we think we’re doing and what we’re actually doing can be very different. Sit down and go over your spending habits (if you have a partner, make sure to do it together). How much were you spending each month? Did you end the year with savings? What would you like to do differently in the coming year?

Set a budget – Itemize your monthly spending. What is fixed? What is flexible? What do you really need to spend going forward? When setting a budget it is a good idea to round up, that way you have some wiggle room if things don’t go exactly as planned.

Short term goals – Have a plan for paying down credit cards.

Long term goals – Set up recurring transfers with NBCU online banking. Make weekly, bi-weekly or monthly transfers into your savings account, TFSA or RRSP. Pay down debt. Consider making slightly larger payments

Tips to consider:

  • Call your service companies and negotiate better prices for your services. Cancel those you don’t need. Do you use your gym membership? Do you watch that channel you pay for?
  • Check local flyers for sales and deals
  • Buy non-brand items when at the grocery store
  • Buy used goods from places like secondhand stores, Facebook Market Place and Kijiji.
  • Consider selling items you don’t use. Did you use that exercise machine this past year?

Dates to add to your 2022 calendar

We’re here to help. Talk to our team about setting up your savings goals and optimizing your financial wellness!

Author: NorthernBirchCU

A co-operative financial institution based out of Toronto, Ontario.

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