The first quarter of the year is the prime time to make decisions that will lead to financial security and healthy personal financial trends for the rest of the year. Tax Day is a little more than two months away and while that might seem like a long while, there’s no time like the present to get a hold of the financial reins. In the aftermath of the holiday season, through all the spikes in sales, travel costs, and all of the first of the year bills, banks accounts may be a bit chaotic. Some basic tips for wrangling finances include:

  1. Track and Analyze Your Spending – Many financial institutions and banks, as well as websites, help you do this by breaking down the types of things you spend your money on. From clothing to food and utilities to travel, tracking your spending will help you to visualize what you can cut down on and where all your money goes.
  2. Open a Savings Account – If you don’t already have one, opening a savings account is a key financial boon. Try to save at least 3% (if not more) of your paycheck for emergencies, rainy day funds, and The Future.
  3. Pay Your Bills – It’s sometimes difficult to choose between the bills you need to pay to keep a roof over their head and the bills one has to pay in order to one day own the roof over your head. But pay we must. Keep up.
  4. Live Within Your Means – They say if you want to make money, then you have to spend money. One shouldn’t go crazy here. Projecting that you or your product are worth a lot of money does not mean that you have to drive yourself into despairing debt.

If you find yourself too overwhelmed with the prospects of your business’s money and budget needs, then it might benefit you to take a course that relates to accounting and finance. Approved Colleges offers a course in Money and Banking, which discusses how banking, the market, and the financial status of the country relates to your business’s and your personal financial life. This can be helpful if you are in a place to start investing money in the stock market and need to know more about how that works. If you are a small business owner, Approved Colleges offers QuickBooks for Small Businesses, which educates individuals on how to use the accounting software for everything from budgeting to payroll.

Of course, sticking to your resolutions and keeping your financial ducks in a row can be difficult. That’s why making an investment concerning learning about the ins and outs of money and budgeting can be helpful. Heeding the aforementioned tips and taking one of these courses can help you on your way to making great financial decisions in the coming year.

Contributed by S.E. Curtis