New Year, New You

Make your financial resolutions a reality with some tips and ideas from UWCU.

UW Credit Union member looking ahead to the new year

This new year, focus your fitness goals on your financial health. Whether it’s bulking up your savings, improving your credit score, or simply adding some change to the rainy-day fund, if you stick to a few of the financial resolutions below, you’ll be able to see some real results in matter of months.

Simplify Your Budget

Budgets are one of the hardest things to both start and stick to. So, set a realistic goal by focusing on just one or two areas that you want to improve; like spending less at restaurants or creating an emergency savings account. By starting simple and tackling just one goal at a time, you can feel a real sense of accomplishment and stay motivated to continue budgeting all year long.

Automate Your Savings

Making a point to put money into your savings account can be difficult, which is where automated deposits can help. Set it and forget it to automatically add some money to your savings every few weeks. If you’re not sure how much you can afford to save, start small (like $20 per paycheck or $50 per month) and increase the amount when you can. Even the smallest amounts can add up quickly and come in handy in case of emergencies.

Pay Off High-Rate Balances

See if refinancing can help save you money on your high-rate loans, especially high-rate credit card balances. Refinancing replaces your existing loan with a new rate and term. If you qualify for a lower rate, you can save hundreds, even thousands, in interest. Plus, you can pay off your loan faster with a shorter term or lower your monthly payments with a longer term.

Save Your Change

Rainy-day funds are no joke; especially if that rain winds up flooding your basement. One quick way to bulk up that cookie jar on top of the fridge is to take any additional non-income money—tax returns, holiday bonuses, birthday checks from grandma, etc.—and save it instead of spending it.

Boost Your Credit Score

Boosting your credit score may sound tough, but you’d be surprised just how much it can improve in a year. First, make sure you’re paying off your credit balance as quickly as you can. Focus on the highest APR accounts first, and try to get your credit utilization ratio under 30%—it’ll make a big difference. Another way to get your score up is to ask for a credit limit increase on an existing line; it usually doesn’t require a hard credit check, and it can quickly improve your score.

Give Back

This financial resolution won’t generate any money, but it can certainly generate a lot of happiness. If giving back is on your to-do list this year, pick a cause that you really care about and make a point to donate some money to it. It doesn't even have to be a lot. Just pick a number and take joy in knowing that it will be helping someone less fortunate than yourself.

Take Stock

Before your financial resolution list is complete, it’s important to first find out where you stand. One of the easiest ways to do that is with a free and confidential Credit Consultation. Together, our financial experts will review your credit report, help you better understand your financial picture, and look for opportunities to help you save on interest and reduce your payments.

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