Article by by Harriet Edleson, AARP

“From last-minute contributions to your 401(k) retirement plan to getting a head start on saving for your summer vacation, the end of the year can be a particularly good time to think about the state of your finances. Whatever your financial situation, it is helpful to take stock of where you’re headed before the New Year.

Financial planners suggest these six ways to start fixing your finances in 2019.

1. Know where your money is going
Take the time now to create a spending plan or a 2019 budget so you can manage exactly how you will use your money in the upcoming year. Start this process by making a list of all your income alongside all your liabilities or expenses. Include every expense you have, from the smallest to the largest, and evaluate whether some of these periodic or recurring items can be eliminated. Don’t leave anything out of your 2019 budget, even incidental things like the coffee and bagel you buy three mornings a week.

“Everything we do is habit,” says Randy Williams, president of A Debt Coach Credit Counseling Service, based in Florence, Ky. Typically, our estimate of what we spend is lower than what we actually spend. One way to determine what you actually spend is, during the next few weeks record every cent you lay out and what you purchased. At the end of the month, you can compare your estimate with your actual spending. For many people the amount they actually spend can be as much as 50 percent more than their estimates, Williams says.”

Click here to continue reading this article.