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2022 and You: Setting--and keeping--financial resolutions in the new year

Published: Dec. 30, 2021 at 8:35 AM CST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 10:06 AM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Financial goals often top the list for new year’s resolutions.

Nick Kilmer is the assistant director of the Texas A&M Money Education Center. He joined Brazos Valley This Morning to offer first steps toward your 2022 financial goals:

  • Budget Your Money – Budgeting isn’t fun for most of us, but it is the cornerstone to growing wealth. The convenience of credit cards and automatic-payments simply makes it too easy to spend, so this new year, start tracking your income and expenses and find out where your money is going. If you just don’t have the time, then consider using an online budgeting app that will do it for you, like Mint.com, Personal Capital, or Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar.
  • Pay Yourself First – If you’re trying to build an emergency fund, or save up for that summer trip to Florida, consider paying yourself first. Have your checking account auto transfer $20, $50, or $100 to your savings account after each paycheck comes in so that you force yourself to save first and then live off whatever’s left. This will force your spending habits to conform to your savings goals, rather than the other way around.
  • Grow Your Credit Score – A higher credit score could save you thousands of dollars on your next car or home loan. So start growing your credit score now by using your credit card at least once a month, using less than 10% of its credit limit, and paying the balance off in full every month. If you’ve been a good borrower, you can also contact your credit card company and ask to increase your credit limit. All of these will reduce your debt-to-credit ratio, boosting your credit score.
  • Monitor for Identity Theft – Federal law allows you to get a free credit report from each credit bureau every 12 months. Visit annualcreditreport.com to see yours. If you notice fraudulent activity, follow the steps on identitytheft.gov to report it and begin repairing your credit score. You can also “freeze” your credit reports so that others won’t be approved for new debts in your name.
  • Repay Your Student Loans – Good news! Federal student loan repayment has now been pushed back to May 1st. Hopefully this extension will give you the chance to focus on your other bills and savings goals for the next few months. But repayment is coming, so visit studentaid.gov this spring to find out who your servicer is and then call them and discuss alternative repayment options (such as an income-based repayment plan) if you’re concerned about affording your student loan payments in May.
  • Finally... Don’t forget to celebrate your financial wins in 2022. Mental and financial wellness go hand in hand, so if you pay off your credit card, or buy a new car, go out to dinner or throw a party to celebrate. Marking your accomplishments with a little fun will make them that much easier to remember as the years go by.

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