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Financial goals are one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to pay off debt, save for a house or start saving for your retirement the task can seem daunting. Here are 4 financial tips to help you achieve your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions.

1.Create a budget, and stick to it
This seems fairly simple, but the majority of individuals have no firm idea of how much money they are spending each month. As the holiday’s approach our spending tends to increase as we purchase gifts for friends and loved ones. To keep your spending under control create a comprehensive budget. First, create a budget that tracks your income and all your fixed expenses like mortgage payments and other bills. Once you have those bills accounted for divide the rest of your income between more flexible, but necessary, expenses such as your groceries and your savings account. The remainder of your funds can be directed towards “nice to have” items, like eating out or shopping. To help your budget adjust to your holiday spending set more of this third category of money aside each pay cheque and create a spending limit for each gift you are going to buy.

2.Invest in your future
You may feel too young to be thinking about retirement, but it pays to plan ahead. When you make your budget, set aside some money each month for your RRSP so that you can grow your nest egg gradually and not be faced with the prospect of having to delay retirement due to financial constraints. You should also set aside money every month in a savings account to cover any unexpected expenses. It is bad enough if you have to pay for expensive car or home repairs, but if you have to put it on your credit card you will end up paying more for the repairs in the long run.

3.Pay off, and avoid, credit card debt
It is so easy to pay for purchases using a credit card, but it can end up costing you significantly. If you carry a balance you end up paying interest on the money you have spent, ultimately making your purchases cost even more. Pay off credit card debt and avoid carrying a balance. That being said, you should still have a credit card to help you boost your credit rating. Making purchases and paying off your balance each month improves your credit rating, while forgoing any credit building activities means you have no credit score. Though not as bad as a poor credit score, having no credit score can also inhibit your ability to get an apartment, get a loan, or apply for a mortgage. To balance these two seemingly opposite strategies think of your credit card like a second debit card: If you don’t have the money to pay for a purchase then don’t buy it. And be sure you return your balance to zero every month.

4.Keep comprehensive records
Though it may seem like overkill to save all that paperwork you will thank yourself in the end. Keeping comprehensive records will help you come tax season when you apply for credits. Even small things like saving your monthly bus passes can be useful. And if you are dreading the thought of piles of paperwork don’t worry. A lot of companies offer electronic statements which are easier to keep track of, take up significantly less space and are more environmentally friendly.

For more financial planning tips and advice visit timlacroix.com and call 403.648.1541 today.