Top 5 Financial Resolutions for 2014 Create a budget Budgets are a great way to get a better handle on your finances. Having a budget will help you stay on track, plus show you an overall picture of all of your expenses. Seeing where all of your money is going can help you make necessary adjustments and avoid spending money where you don’t need to. Set up an emergency fund If you don’t have an emergency fund set up, then now is a good time to start! Having an emergency fund is very important because it’s there for those unexpected expenses. With each paycheck, set aside a certain percentage and deposit it into a separate savings account. Try to build up enough funding to cover 4 to 6 months worth of expenses. This will help when times get tough like when you need to fix your car after the transmission goes out or your child breaks their arm and needs surgery. Invest in a 401K plan Having a 401K plan is one of the best ways to save up for your retirement. Retirement should be a time to enjoy life and not a time to stress about making ends meet. If your employer offers a 401K plan, find out more about it. Often they will match whatever you contribute up to a certain percentage. Take full advantage of this “free money” as soon as you can. Generally the earlier you start, the faster your money grows, and the easier it can be to retire! Make more meals at home Making meals and eating at home is another great way to keep your finances healthy. Most items from a grocery store or supermarket are much more affordable to make a meal out of than the cost of eating out at a restaurant. For the price of eating out, you can easily prepare multiple servings and save them as leftovers for future meals. Meals prepared at home are also healthier for you. Many restaurants use excess sodium, sugars and fats in their foods. When you prepare meals at home, you control the amount of ingredients you put into each dish, as well as the portions. Cut unnecessary expenses Most all of our finances contain expenses for necessary items such as utilities, mortgage, rent, insurance, etc. However, there are many other expenses in our day-to-day lives that are unnecessary and could be eliminated from our budgets. Sometimes these expenses don’t seem like much but adding them up over a period of time can really have an impact on your overall finances. Evaluate your monthly cable bill, the channels you are actually watching, and see if there are cuts or adjustments that you can make to reduce that monthly bill. Check with your cable provider to see if you qualify for bundle savings as well. Brew your coffee at home and take it with you to work instead of stopping and grabbing one on your way. There are so many easy at-home brewing options now that you can even add some variety in your morning cup without the large expense, and additional time, to stop at a coffee shop. These are just a few examples, but there are many more. Find a few to eliminate out of your budget and you could notice some real savings.