As we near the end of 2018, now is a great time to check in with your finances and consider some financial goals for the new year. Take some time over winter break to review where you are financially and get a jump on your finances for next year.
Reflect on your financial big picture over the last year. How much money did you make? How much did you save? How did you spend your money? Did you stay within your budget? Did you accumulate any debt? The answers to these questions can help you determine where you’d like to be financially and establish goals for the next year.
After reflecting on 2018, what do you want to be different in 2019? Would you like to increase your emergency savings? Spend less on eating out at restaurants? Pay down some credit card debt? Create a financial goal or two for the next year, and set up a plan and budget to help you accomplish them.
If you’d like to spend less eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout, allocate less spending money in your budget for those activities and commit to cooking meals more often at home. Review these six ways to eat healthy on a budget and four meals that won’t break the bank to get started.
To begin paying down credit card debt, prioritize your monthly spending—rent, food, transportation, etc.—and look for places where you can cut back. For example, consider canceling subscription services and use the money you would normally be charged each month to put towards your outstanding balance. Try switching to the free version of Spotify or create a family account with your roommates for now, and re-subscribing to Netflix or Hulu after your debt is paid off.
Make an effort to pay more than your minimum payment each month. If you have more than one credit card with a balance, pay off the card with the highest interest first.
Whether you are in your first year or last year at CU, you may be eligible for scholarships. Spend some time over winter break researching opportunities and filling out applications. There are many scholarship opportunities offered through CU Boulder, and you can apply for scholarships by completing the CU Boulder Scholarship Application through your MyCUInfo portal. Most scholarships have a deadline between Feb. 15 and March 6.
For all things finance-related, from budgeting and saving to taxes and debt, CU Money Sense is here to help you learn and understand your personal finances.