My 2009 (nope), 2010 (nope), 2011 New Year's Resolutions

Dec 08, 2010, 17:07 ET from Family Credit Management

Time to get serious. Talk is cheap; messing up your finances is not.

CHICAGO, Dec. 8, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Do you remember the New Year's resolutions you made last year, or the year before? Many of them were likely related to how you were going to manage your money better. Here we are years later and how many changes have you made? How many of us are even worse off?

"If the recession taught us anything, it is now is the time to make changes, but the trick is to actually follow through and make the hard choices," says Michael McAuliffe, president of Family Credit Management Services and instructor of personal finance at Morton College in Illinois. "You must get to know yourself, your personal weaknesses, and then make the changes needed to protect yourself from, well, you."

Family Credit Management offers 5 steps to make your resolutions a reality in the coming year:

  • Set Goals. Where do you want to be financially in 1, 3, or 5 years? Credit cards paid off? A fat savings account? Or how about a vacation paid with cash, not credit cards? You can have any of these things but you must make them a priority.
  • Look at the Big Picture. A $5 latte may not seem much, but it adds up to over $1800 a year or over $9000 in five years. Was the $5 latte worth taking away from your goals? Because that's exactly what you did. How many other expenses are keeping you from reaching your goals?
  • Spend Rationally. As long as you aren't spending more than you make, you can spend your money on whatever you'd like. The key is to not make impulse or emotional purchases. Put a picture of your goal in your wallet so you are reminded of it each time you are tempted to spend. You can also request free credit card sleeves at
  • Evaluate Debt. It's hard to move forward financially when you are still paying off Christmas presents from three years ago. Create a plan to get out of debt as soon as possible. This may include reviewing your interest rates, increasing payments, or consulting an objective credit counselor. Debt free living is a choice, but it takes hard work.
  • Save. Prepare for the unexpected. Don't allow a medical emergency, broken furnace, or car repair to create a financial disaster. Create an emergency fund and add to it each pay period. Ask your HR department to automatically deposit a small portion of your pay into a savings account so you are not tempted to spend it. Direct deposit is also a great way to save.

About Family Credit Management – FCM is an ISO registered, non-profit consumer credit counseling service providing solutions for those seeking financial assistance. FCM is one of only 26 consumer credit counseling agencies licensed in over twenty states, and has been servicing consumers throughout the country for fifteen years. FCM's mission is to reduce stress in consumer's lives through education, budget counseling and debt management.

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SOURCE Family Credit Management