Get Your Green On

12 Months to a Better Financial Foundation—Step 1: Goal Setting

This month, we’re kicking off a series called “12 Months to a Better Financial Foundation.” Each month, we’ll share an easy step or two you can take to get your finances in better order. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in just one year!

Step 1: Analyze your spending from last year and set goals for this year

Did you save more or less than you wanted last year? Are you suddenly having trouble paying your monthly bills or did you come into more money than you expected? Have the interest rates on your credit cards skyrocketed? Take a big-picture view of your income and spending from last year and set out your financial goals for this year.

How did your income, savings, and debt change last year? Compare your financial statements from the beginning and end of the year to get an overall picture of how your financial situation changed in 2022.
Are your loan payments no longer comfortable? Interest rates on evolving debt, such as credit cards, store accounts, and even home equity lines of credit, increased substantially in 2022. If you also borrowed more last year, you might now find yourself having difficulty making your monthly payments or paying down your debt at a reasonable rate.

What does 2023 hold? Are there expected large changes in your financial life ahead? If you are getting married, changing jobs, buying a home, having a child, moving, or planning any other significant life change, consider how each of these will affect your finances.

Where do you want to be at the end of 2023? Do you want to save money, pay down debt, improve your credit score, or just get a better handle on your budget and monthly spending? Whatever you want to do, write it down on a piece of paper or make yourself a digital note. Clarifying your goals and recording them makes you more likely to achieve them.

Our monthly series on these topics will help you work toward your goals in 2023 but if you have specific questions or want advice sooner on how to achieve your goals, contact your local branch to schedule an appointment with a member service representative who can work with you on your specific financial situation.

Up next month: Budgeting