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Three easy steps to prepare your finances for a successful 2024

Survey shows most Americans with a budget still struggle with overspending
74% of Americans use a monthly budget
End-of-year financial checklist
Posted at 1:35 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 16:20:20-05

With 2024 coming up, now is the perfect time to get your personal finances in order, so you can start the new year in full control of your money.

Keeping track of your spending is tough, but no matter where you live or what your income is it's an incredibly important skill to develop. While NerdWallet found 74% of Americans have a monthly budget, most still admit to struggling with overspending.

Nilay Gandhi is a senior wealth adviser for Vanguard. He defines personal finances as planning for the future as it relates to expenses, income, savings, and emergency preparedness. "Financial planning is planning today for tomorrow," said Gandhi. He recognizes staying on top of all those areas is tough, especially this time of year.

"Holidays are definitely hectic in nature."
Nilay Gandhi

To prevent overspending and getting in over your head with credit card debt, Gandhi suggests setting boundaries. "Don't be afraid to say no," Gandhi said. "Because that can help save some of the anxiety that comes along with holidays."

Gandhi encourages everyone to try three simple steps to get on track for the new year and feel more in control of your money.

Step One: Do a Financial Inventory

"Review your financial goals," Gandhi said. "Set budgets and try and adhere to them." Once you've identified your budget and how you want to divide your earnings, you'll be more in control of where your money goes.

Step Two: Ask for Help

It can be very difficult to put together a plan on your own, especially if you have a lot of debt. If you're overwhelmed or you aren't sure where to start, don't hesitate to call in someone with more experience. "This is not easy. This is not simple at all," Gandhi said. He suggests reaching out to trusted friends, family members, or a financial adviser for help.

Step Three: Reward All Progress

Finally, make sure to celebrate your successes. "Reward yourself, track your progresses," Gandhi said. He emphasizes the importance of rewarding positive change so that you can be encouraged by how far you've come in building healthy financial habits.