As we start the new year, it’s worth looking back at 2020. It was full of surprises like an ongoing global pandemic and a vicious windstorm the region is still recovering from.
Though we can never fully prepare for the unexpected, the events of last year show the importance of emergency savings. Having extra money set aside puts you in a better position to deal with a loss of income or extra expenses.
If you haven’t started to build up your emergency savings, now’s a great time to start. Set up a recurring transfer or other automatic way to set aside some of your income each month – even a small amount will add up over time. If you have a tax refund coming this year, use it to catch up where you’ve fallen behind and put the rest in your emergency fund.
Now is a good time to review your finances as well. Look at your current expenses and come up with a spending plan, if you don’t have one – and if you do, adjust it to match your current situation. Always try to cut out unnecessary or wasteful spending; don’t forget to look at subscriptions or services you pay for every month, as those savings are ongoing.
Pulling your free credit report can be helpful as well. You can see what has changed for you over the last year and identify ways to build your credit if needed.
Most importantly: Don’t stress too much. If you have a little extra money after the important items are covered, treat yourself. It could be as simple as takeout and a movie rental, but do something for yourself and take a moment to relax.