Ready to take control of your money in 2017? We’ve got your back with ways on how to do just that. And don’t worry, it’s not as difficult or complicated as you think.

By making just a few small changes now, you can start the year with a fresh budget and a plan to get your spending and savings back on track, to help you have a prosperous year.

The big question we all ask ourselves is where and how do we start? Goal setting is your answer. Various studies have shown that those with a specific goal save faster and more successfully than those who don’t. So first, decide on what you’re saving towards, whether it’s a house deposit, a new car or maybe a dream family holiday, because by having a clear goal, it can really give you something to aim for.

So, how do you reach that all-important target? Follow the tips below to ensure you reach your goal.

Understand how you spend your money

For just one month, track every single one of your purchases to the penny. Make sure you don’t miss out anything; even the little purchases like small packets of chewing gum. By taking a hard look at where your money goes each month and specifically what you’re overspending on, you’ll feel more in control of your money. Understanding how and where you’re spending is a key step toward forming a realistic budget that you can actually stick to.

Make a budget, and be realistic

Once you’ve understood where you can begin to cut down on your spending, you can now put your budget together. Don’t forget, your budget needs to be both flexible and realistic, otherwise, you’re not going to be able to stick to it. Your budget is about smart planning, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t enjoy things that make you happy. You may need to cut down on those extra expenses, but a good budget doesn’t eliminate them altogether.

Check your progress and reward yourself

To make sure you’re on track with your budget, make a ‘money date’ with yourself, ideally at the end of the week to go through your transactions from that week. If you fall off track, because you maybe over-spent that week, don’t panic, and more importantly don’t give up. All you have to do it just understand where and why you overspent and get back on track.

When you hit your savings goal, make sure you celebrate and reward yourself a little bit. Because let’s not forget, saving is all about moderation, but not completely cutting out and shopping and spending.

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