It is not too late to make New Year resolutions for your financial future

If you have failed to keep your past financial New Year resolutions, give it another shot and resolve to do better in 2013. Each year, most Americans want to do better at managing their money but fail to take the steps necessary to do so. Many are so overwhelmed at the thought of fixing all their financial troubles that they are confused about which steps to take first.

It is never too late to establish financial goals for yourself this year. Start by setting one manageable goal this month and another later in the year instead of trying to change the way you live and spend your money all at one time.

Decrease debt

If your goal is to get your debt under control, you may wish to start doing one or more of the following:

  • Use cash or a debit card for purchases in order to stop spending what you do not already possess
  • Make a payment plan to pay off your credit cards - paying only the minimum monthly payments costs you more in the long run
  • Check your credit card bills monthly for accuracy - identify theft is on the rise and simple mistakes are common, adding to your debt load
  • Pay all your bills on time to avoid late fees and penalties

Increase savings

If you are trying to save money this year, try one of these tips:

  • Set up an automatic savings plan that puts a small portion of each paycheck directly into your saving account
  • Set a savings goal for yourself and break it down into manageable weekly or monthly steps
  • Clearly identify what you will use the savings for - travel, new clothes, college fund for a child - and remind yourself of your goal frequently to help keep yourself motivated

Take control

You may want to create new habits as you take control of your finances, such as:

  • Scrutinize a copy of your credit report on an annual basis to check for errors and see that your credit score is moving in the right direction
  • Have a set time each week or every other week to pay your bills and check that you have enough, or will have enough, on hand to pay next month's bills
  • Each month, analyze how you spend your money to determine where you can cut spending

When resolve is not enough

Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control. The loss of a job, an illness or an unexpected and costly event can put you in a financial situation from which you cannot easily recover. If you are retired, inflation may be outpacing your fixed income.

You are not alone if you are struggling to pay your debts. Over a million people file for personal bankruptcy each year in the U.S. and, for many, bankruptcy allows them to have a fresh financial start.

If you are worried about your debt, it is a good idea to talk with an experienced Georgia bankruptcy attorney. A lawyer can evaluate your situation to help you determine what debt management solutions are best for you.