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Start the New Year Strong with These Money Moves

The New Year is here, bringing exciting opportunities to make changes for the better. Are you ready for a fresh start with your finances? Take a look at these ways to achieve greater financial flexibility and freedom in 2020.

Start the new year strong with these five smart money moves:

Set money goals

A new year means it's time for new goals. Like any goal, they should be specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and timely (SMART). To get started, think about what you want to achieve this year? Here are some examples of great money goals to consider:

  • ​Create a budget
  • Make a debt payoff plan
  • Improve your credit score
  • Save for a goal

Once you've identified your money goals, set a timeline for completing them. Make a plan to reach your goals, whether it's by saving more money, cutting expenses or earning extra income.

Build a better budget

Start or revisit your monthly budget. The purpose of budgeting isn't to limit your fun; it's about creating a plan for your spending so you can make the most of your hard-earned money. Budgeting doesn't have to be complicated, either. Start by tracking all of your expenses using a journal, spreadsheet or free budgeting tool like Money Management from Wright-Patt Credit Union (WPCU). When you see where your money is really going, you can make a plan for where you'd like it to go instead!

​Supersize your savings

If you want to grow your savings in 2020, try the “pay yourself first" strategy. Instead of waiting until the end of the month to save whatever you have left of your paycheck, think of your savings as the first bill you pay each month. This way, you'll build your spending around how much you save, not the other way around! Make saving each month even easier by scheduling automatic, recurring transfers to your savings account using ​WPCU's Mobile and Online Banking.

Check up on your credit

When is the last time you looked over your credit report? If it's been a while, the beginning of the year is a perfect time to check your report and make sure it's accurate. Your credit report is simply a summary of your credit activity, including open and closed accounts and your loan payment history.

You can get one free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Request your free reports at AnnualCreditReport.com, then review them for inaccurate or outdated information. An error on your report could impact your credit score, and it might even be a sign of identity theft. If you find mistakes on any of your credit reports, dispute them with the credit reporting agency right away.

Plan for a rainy day

No matter how carefully you budget, unexpected events can happen at any time. That's why it's so important to have a “rainy day" or emergency fund. This year, make it a priority to start or build an emergency fund with enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. Keep your emergency fund in a safe, accessible account such as WPCU's TrueSaver® savings account or a Money Market Account to grow your savings with some of the best rates around. Having a rainy day fund will give you peace of mind knowing you have a financial cushion for whatever the future may hold.

Wright-Patt Credit Union is here to help you Save Better, Borrow Smarter and Learn a Lot so you can live the life you want to live! For more helpful money management and budgeting tips, tools and advice, stop by your nearest Member Center or explore our online Education Center.