Does Your Budget Need a New Year’s Diet?

During the season of holiday parties, gifts, festivities and travel, your usual budget can quickly fall by the wayside. And while it’s OK to treat yourself, family and friends during special occasions, it’s also important to get your finances back on track.

First, it’s important to understand where your money is going. Do you keep track of receipts and invoices, or mindlessly swipe your credit card at the store? Keep track of the obvious — grocery bills, utilities, rent — and well as the not-so-obvious, like your daily Starbucks habit.

Once you have an idea of your personal cash flow, map out the first places your money should be going. These items would include paying off debt, as well as any essential costs, like housing. Then, identify areas you can cut back, such as on food: Eating in more, packing your lunch and shopping sales are all smart money tips.

As with any change, the most important step is getting started. Once you’ve begun to make some simple changes to your finances, you’ll be saving money and reaping the benefits of a healthy budgetary system.