If you overspent this Christmas, you’re not alone. A recent study showed that nearly half of all Americans feel pressured to spend more than they can afford during the Christmas season.

While, we can’t go back in time and get your money back, as one of Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, we want to pass along a few tips that will help you finish 2015 strong and start 2016 on the right track.

  1. Make a Budget

A written budget (not just an idea in your head) is a great way to start the new year. Make some time to sit down with your spouse and/or accountability partner and look over the previous year’s spending using past bank statements. This will allow you to get an idea of how much money comes in every month and how to designate every dollar in the year to come (you can use a budget to plan your 2016 budget for Christmas, today! Look at how much you spent this month, divide that number by 12 and start setting aside that amount every month so that you are ready when Christmas comes again).

  1. Set goals that are realistic

Setting goals will help you to stay motivated and excited about the future. It also reminds you that your financial goals are just as valuable as your goals for your career, relationships or any other area in your life. Make time to dream about these goals and what you want to accomplish. Make short term and long term goals for you money. Are you wanting a certain vacation next summer? Are you wanting a new entertainment system before next year? Wouldn’t it be great to save a few months of income as an emergency fund? Find the goals that speak to you the most and write them down somewhere where you’ll see them often. Make sure the goals are specific, measurable and have a deadline.

  1. Be a giver

When planning your budget, set aside some money to help those that are less fortunate. It helps to keep things in perspective and allows you to feel good about the money you’re donating. However, be mindful on how and where you give and invest the same amount of thought into where you give as you do your other investments. This way, your generosity will be less likely to be mishandled or abused.

Following these tips can help you to have a successful 2016. If you would like advice on how giving can qualify you for tax deductions or other areas involving accounting services and tax preparation, contact our Joplin, MO office today. We’ll look forward to hearing from you.