SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is changing people’s finances for the better. And an Illinois statewide official has some ideas for people if they are looking for advice on where to start.
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza offers has offered some tips to help Illinoisans to stay fiscally solid, and believes all households should have a financial plan in 2024 if they don’t already.
“The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to review your finances and set goals for savings, managing debt and planning for the future,” the comptroller said. “A thorough analysis of income and expenses may mean the difference between taking the next big family vacation or saving for your child’s college education.”
Some tips Mendoza recommends people to think about:
- Save money. Families will need cash for unexpected expenses like home and auto repairs, costly medical bills, or regular expenses after losing a job. It’s recommended to have funds to pay at least have 3-6 months in savings, but a good goal to start with is one month.
- See if you can automatically have a portion of your paycheck go straight into a savings account. It’s even better with a savings account with interest.
- Review your spending, and don’t be afraid to cancel unused streaming subscriptions or gym memberships. Also see if you can cut back on daily, unnecessary expenses like lattes or fast food.
- Also review your debt. The comptroller said reviewing debts can be scary, but also motivating.
- Check your credit score to see which areas you can work on to improve your score.
- Review your credit report to check it’s accurate, and report any signs of identity theft..
- Sign up for credit alerts and identity theft protection.
- If you use credit cards, try to pay off your full statement each month to not be charged interest. Be sure to pay it on time to not rack up late fees too.
- Avoid cashing checks at places that charge high fees.
- If you’re looking for a new safe and affordable checking or credit union account, try the Comptroller’s Bank On Illinois program.
“Think about some of these tips and make reasonable goals,” Mendoza said. “Small successes can help inspire you to tackle larger concerns hanging over your head, like student loan debt or building up a savings account.”
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