Resolution #1: Know What You Owe

By Lauren Sharkey

While new year’s resolutions are often reserved for “getting healthy”, it is important for your well-being to be financially healthy as well.  The holidays are known for being a time where we splurge on food – but we extend ourselves on other things too…money, in particular.  And while 2013 might be ending, credit card statements are just the beginning.

The start of the New Year is a great time to take stock of your debt – knowing how much you owe is an important factor to consider when creating and adjusting your budget.    Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Look at your BILLS:  When we talk about “debt” lots of people’s minds go straight to credit cards.  However, you have to be mindful of your monthly expenses such as rent, car insurance, groceries, and your cell phone bill.  These expenses are a huge part of where your budget goes and are important things to consider when we talk about “debt”.
  2. Evaluate your CREDIT CARD SPENDING:  Go over your credit card statements not only to size up the amount of money you borrowed, but also to get an idea of how much money you spent this holiday season.  Were you over budget?  If so, by how much?
  3. Check on your STUDENT LOANS:  No matter what your grade level, it’s always a good idea to keep track of your student loan balance.  This may help you get a better understanding of what your monthly payments might look like post-graduation, and you can actually start paying off the interest while you’re still in class.  To check you loan balance, click here (you will need your FAFSA PIN).  You can also check out your estimated monthly student loan payment by using this repayment calculator.

Once you’ve gotten a handle on how much debt you have, you can move on to setting some financial goals, and creating a budget to reach them!

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