Resolve to achieve your financial goals


Kristi Cutts, Guest columnist

The New Year is officially here, and with that comes a new opportunity to remake yourself. But instead of setting a resolution you’ll forget by February, why not make 2022 the year you get into great financial shape?

There are a few simple things you can do to make 2022 your best financial year yet. Let’s dive in!

Identify your goals
Everyone has financial goals, but not everyone takes the time to write them down and create a plan to achieve them. Whether you’re saving up for a vacation, looking to pay off debt or gathering money for a down payment on a car, having a specific goal in mind will help you get there.

When you’re setting goals, it helps to get as specific as possible and to commit to your goal by writing it down. What  do you want? When do you want to achieve your goal by? Why? How much money will you need to accomplish it?

Create a spending plan
A spending plan can act as a roadmap to accomplishing your goals. Once you have an idea of where your money goes, it’ll clarify what you can do with what’s left at the end of the month.

Add up your total monthly income. Make sure you include all of the money you can regularly count on, including your take-home pay after taxes, tips or side jobs, unemployment compensation, child support and Social Security or veterans’ benefits.

Next, add up your total monthly expenses. Some of your expenses will be the same each month, such as rent or housing payments, car payments, insurance or student loans. Other expenses are flexible and will change each month: food, gas, car repairs or pet expenses. Finally, think of occasional expenses such as birthday or holiday gifts, car registration, oil changes, etc.

If you still have a bit of money left at the end of the month, you can use that to fund your goal – whatever it is. If you find that your expenses are more than your income, it might be time to consider ways to reduce your spending or increase your income. Canceling that streaming subscription or picking up a few extra bucks with a part-time job might just get you on the path toward achieving your goal.

Save smart
Saving can be challenging, but there are ways to make it easier. One tip is to set up a portion of your paycheck to be direct deposited into your savings account automatically, so that you know exactly how much of your income you’re saving without even having to think about it.

Throwing windfall income into savings can also provide a quick boost. Instead of blowing your tax refund on an extravagant purchase, consider socking that money away to help boost your savings.

Find small ways to save. If you regularly buy your lunch, consider packing it a few times a week and save that money.

Reach out for help
Finally, if you’re in a tough spot financially, know you can always reach out for help. There are campus and community resources available to you. United Way offers a financial resource and referral hotline reachable by dialing 2-1-1, and as a UWO student, you can access The Cabinet Food Pantry located in the Reeve Memorial Union next to The Titan Underground. These resources can help connect you to additional support or help to stretch your income.

And don’t forget: you can still seek scholarships to help cover your college costs for next semester!

Note: Financial Corner is a direct response to student requests for more information on navigating money matters. The tips are provided by Kristi Cutts, branch manager of UW Credit Union’s UW Oshkosh branch.