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Consider getting healthy financially

It's that time of year when many people set some goals to get healthier in the new year -- eating better, getting more physical activity, etc. Have you considered getting healthier financially?

The beginning of the year is a good time to take a financial health check-up.

Here's a few things to consider for your household:

1. Do you have goals of what you want out of life? Are they written down? A recent study found that people who wrote down their goals were the most successful at reaching them. Those who"mentally" wrote them down were moderately successful. The individuals who did neither were the least successful. The key to success in achieving what you want out of life is understanding yourself and then carefully setting some goals -- and writing them down.

2. Do you know where your money goes every pay period? The first step in setting up a plan is to know what you're currently spending. There are many methods to do that, in-cluding easier ones like the receipt method, the calendar method, the envelope method and the checkbook register method. There are also more elaborate methods, such as using an accounting book or computer software programs. Use whatever method will work for you and your household.

3. Do you have a spending plan? Once you know where your money is going every pay period, decide if that's how you want to be spending it. If it's not what you want, maybe you can use some money saving ideas in certain areas, such as food buying, entertainment, utilities, etc. Engage your whole family in this process as it will probably mean a change for all. Develop a spending plan that you'd like to achieve and work on it one step at a time.

4. Coming clean. If you are having problems getting bills paid on time or problems with credit card debt, be up front with the businesses involved. Many times you'll be able to arrange a payment plan that will work for both parties, but you have to be willing to be honest about your current situation.

For more information on this topic, including details on various tracking methods or spending plans, contact Eunice Sahr, Extension Agent, NDSU Extension Service/Stutsman County, 116 1/2 First St E., Jamestown, ND. She may be reached at 252-9030 or