By Orion 

We know it’s a sore subject right after the holidays and with inflation affecting your everyday expenses. The Chinese horoscope in 2024 is the Wood Dragon year and set to be a foundation to bring improvements and abundance. So, how do you get your finances on a solid foundation, poised for good fortune? 

You typically evaluate your physical health this time of year, but let’s concentrate on our financial health, too. Here are some common practices to get your finances in order: 

1. Create a Budget 

A well structured budget allows you to track your income, expenses and savings. You’re in luck. There are several tools to help you track and categorize your spending. At Orion, there are tools within online and digital banking that automate this process and allow comparisons of categorized spending, month to month. List your income and categorize your expenses as fixed and variable. Evaluate ways to cut back. Remember to give yourself some grace when planning your budget because of rising inflation. Don’t pretend you are paying 2021 grocery prices in 2024. 

2. Purge Your Subscriptions 

Do you have recurring payments out of your bank account, and you’re not sure what they are? Did you start a free trial and experiencing charges because you forgot to cancel it? Remember to check your subscriptions on your mobile device. How many streaming accounts do you fund? Do you need all of them? Go through your bank accounts and evaluate these recurring payments. When you cut your monthly expenses, it will free up more cash. 

3. Understand Your Debt 

Do you feel the weight of your debt? List all your debts, including credit cards, loans, and mortgages. Talk with someone at your financial institution to understand options to consolidate your debt. Prioritize ways to pay down high-interest debts, in order to free up more cash by saving the funds spent on interest. 

4. Prioritize an Emergency Fund 

There, we said it. The ugly truth of adulting. We would all rather spend a night out with friends at a nice dinner than stay home and save up an emergency fund. Find a comfortable balance of entertainment and saving, because life will happen. Whether it’s a roof leak or a health issue, an emergency fund is necessary. Once you save for an emergency, you will sleep better and improve your mental stress levels. When something unexpected happens, it can easily overwhelm you, but having an emergency fund will buffer that hardship. 

5. Plan For Your Future 

You may not know where to start and that’s okay. You can seek out a consultation from your financial institution. Remember, it’s the Wood Dragon year and the year will bring improvements and abundance. It’s time to make the appointment. All you need is to be prepared to talk through your income and expenses. 

Make 2024 a great year for financial wellness. For more information visit 

ABOUT ORION: Founded in Memphis in 1957, Orion Federal Credit is the largest credit union in the Mid-South with 70,000 members and more than $1 billion in assets. Orion offers a full spectrum of banking options ranging from savings and checking accounts to auto, home, personal and commercial real estate loans. As a member-owned financial institution, Orion’s profits are passed along to members through higher deposit rates, lower loan rates, and affordable financial services that help pave the way to financial freedom. Bank anytime, anywhere at Insured by the NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.