Happy New Year everyone! Pathways has provided us with some helpful tips in starting out the year right with your finances, as well as suggested some financial resolutions it might be a good time to start thinking about!

Take Time to set Goals and New Years Resolutions.

It’s that time of year again, when we want to start fresh and new. January 1 has traditionally been the starting point for resolutions, whether you are looking to lose weight, start an exercise program or get a handle on your finances. But, before diving right in with a new spreadsheet and money goals, it pays to take some time to reflect and ask yourself some questions.


• What went well with the finances last year?

• What actions did you take to succeed?

• Did you pay down debt?

• Did you increase savings?

• Did you make a major purchase or pay for an event with cash?

• Did you overcome any financial obstacles?

The successes and milestones reached in 2016 are learning experiences that can help you, as you set some succinct, specific goals in 2017. Once you list successes, flip the coin and think about areas where you may have come up short.


• What could have gone better?

• Where are the areas for improvement?

• What held you back?

• What changes can you make?

• Is savings where you wanted it?

• Were you too aggressive with your savings goals?

• Should you try again with a more realistic amount?

Now, don’t beat yourself up on any shortcomings. Use them as learning experiences to improve your position in 2017. Consider trying something new if things didn’t go according to plan in 2016. If you promised yourself you would save receipts and forgot half way through the first day, maybe try an app like mint.com. Or, if the opposite happened, and you haven’t used it at all in 2016, maybe try putting pen to paper and keeping a spending journal. We know what to do. It’s the method we choose that can make the difference. Once you have your financial resolutions set, the question becomes “What are you going to do TODAY that will help you get to that goal?” We eat the elephant one bite at a time. So, to achieve your resolution today, maybe it means not getting that cup of coffee, or deciding against that online order. Maybe it means deciding to cook something for dinner with food you already have, rather than eating out.

We can create fantastic long term goals. But, it is those tiny, every day decisions that will get you there. So what are you going to do today? By taking time to reflect and setting realistic goals, you might be on your way to reviewing a long list of financial successes!

Some Quick Financial Resolutions for 2017

1. Open a separate savings account to force yourself to build an emergency savings fund. Make it separate from your main financial institution, with no ATM card, so you will be forced to go into a branch to withdraw money.

2. Get a library card. Check out some books on personal finance, either the paper version or the electronic version for your tablet (offered by many libraries).

3. Get a (second) job. There are a lot of help wanted signs out and about. If you are looking for additional income to work on your debt, a few hours on the weekend could help.

4. Pull your credit score and report. A good way to start the year is to find out exactly where you stand financially. Download your credit report (one free each year from each of the three main reporting bureaus) at annualcreditreport.com.

5. Plan ahead. Get in the habit each night of preparing for the next day: packing lunches, prepping breakfast and dinner. That way you will not be tempted to buy convenience food, because you are rushed.

6. Unsubscribe. Remove the temptation of impulse buying online by unsubscribing from all retail email. This can take some time, but, ultimately, you will save time and money by not being bombarded with emails tempting you to buy.

7. Opt Out. You can stop getting all of those unsolicited credit card offers by calling (888) 567-8688 or go to optoutprescreen.com.