First, I’d like to start by wishing everyone a Happy New Year! With the holiday season officially over and January coming to a close, now is the perfect time for some financial reflection. Whether you got carried away with Christmas gifts for friends and family or you’re just looking to sustain reasonable spending in 2017, follow these simple tips to realistically decrease financial stress. Proper planning is key to maintain your goals, reduce debt and control spending:

Evaluate non-essential spending – prioritize discretionary vs. non-discretionary spending or in simpler terms: distinguish between needs and wants. Stay clear of spending traps, review your finances and figure out how much money is coming in and going out. Once you account for fixed expenses then you can determine how much you have left, and if required to start a debt repayment plan.

Focus on high interest debt – consumer credit card debt has typically higher interest rates than long-term secured loans like mortgages. If you have debt, make paying off high interest rate debt a priority.

Make room for fun – with any financial goal or debt repayment plan, you need to have an inspirational goal. This could be something as extravagant as a vacation cruise or as simple as a birthday gift to you. Set aside $100 a month for a trip or $50 for fun stuff. It is about creating a plan you can stick with.

Seek assistance – consider getting help if you cannot do it on your own. First, find an ‘accountability partner’, a family member or friend, someone who can check in on you to see how you are doing. If that does not work, engage a professional who has the expertise in helping people with financial priorities, putting together a financial plan to help you stay on track and get out of debt.

If you are in financial distress and looking for assistance, contact me today. At Borsellino Consulting, your meetings will always be with me, Steve Borsellino, Licensed Insolvency Trustee. I’m on your side and committed to helping you eliminate debt and take the first steps towards financial freedom.