Now that the “new year feeling” has long faded away, it’s easy to think the time has passed to set a resolution. The truth is, setting goals (and conquering them) can happen whenever you decide to make the change, regardless of the date.
With holiday spending far behind us, now may actually be the perfect time to make a plan to financially conquer your year. But, where to begin? We’re here to help you set those milestones!
1. Track your spending 📝
“How much do you spend in a week on average?”
Similar to the white lie you tell the doctor when answering how many drinks consumed per week, coming to terms with how much money you’re spending can be tough. 😬
A great way to truthfully answer this question is to do your homework. Start by writing down your weekly expenses, and then do a little math to calculate an average. Now that you’ve got a starting point, you can start to hold yourself accountable and cut back if the amount spikes, or congratulate yourself when your savings increase. Feel free to reevaluate with the seasons or if you identify other patterns - such as, heavy spending in May because of Mother’s Day, a birthday that requires a best-friend worthy gift, or your dog’s vet bill which always seems to pile up when you least expect it.
2. Create a budget, and stick to it ⚖️
Anyone can create a budget, but the real test is sticking to it. Now that you have a rough estimate of how much money you usually spend a week, sit down and categorize your expenses respectively. Remember, you don’t have to spend the money just because you have it. Saving for a rainy day is important too!
We recommend writing your purchases down every day so you can easily see if you are on or off track for the week. If you have the Petal credit card, the mobile app will digitally track your spending for all of your linked accounts. Simply log in (on iOS or Android) and your activity will all appear on the dashboard! From the app, you can also automate payments and set payment reminders; whatever works best for you to stay ahead.
3. Start building credit 🌱
Establishing credit doesn’t happen overnight. If you – or future you – is interested in getting your own cell phone plan, renting an apartment, paying utilities, or buying a car, you should consider your credit options now and plan the best path forward.
Similar to the chicken and egg conundrum, most credit card companies often require you to have a credit score to get a credit card. However, if you are looking to build credit and don’t yet have a credit score…
Petal might be able to help.
The Petal credit card is an honest, simple, and accessible credit card built to make your life a little bit easier. Petal aims to do so by taking more of your financial picture into consideration. If you have a credit score we look at it, but if you don’t, Petal is one of the only credit cards you can get approved for without a pre-existing credit score.
Our application also includes a pre-approval process, which will let you know if you’re likely to be approved so you have a clearer understanding of where you stand before officially pressing submit.
4. Create an emergency fund 🚨
According to Bankrate’s 2018 survey, more than one third of Americans don’t have enough savings to cover a $1k emergency bill. It’s important to build yourself a financial cushion so that you’re financially prepared for the unexpected, otherwise, an unexpected emergency can leave you with limited options and a slew of payments that, with interest, can last years. Taking the time to save now can help save you money and prevent stress later down the road.
5. Make saving a habit 💰
On top of creating an emergency fund, it’s important to regularly invest in your future. This can vary from establishing a 401k account, to stashing $2.00 away each week into your bank account. It’s important to have both an emergency fund and a retirement fund so you can plan for your future and emergencies accordingly. When you decide to make saving money a consistent habit, planning for your future can seem a little less stressful.
1. Keep track of how and when you spend. The only way you can make a change to your spending habits is to know them. From there, you can realign your priorities and start to stick to a budget.
2. If you haven't done so already, start 👏 building 👏 credit. Unsure where to start? We can help: www.petalcard.com
3. Continue to invest in your future self, by making sure you not only create an emergency fund, but instill saving habits into your everyday routine. It can be overwhelming at first, and no one said it's easy, but securing yourself with financial padding can immensely impact your life in a positive way.