Are you on track with your finances for the year?

Keeping your finances on track is certainly no easy task, but millions of people challenge themselves each year and make a pledge to be more financially responsible. The beginning of the year is a great opportunity to change bad finance habits and improve on the things you're already addressing.

To keep your finances intact throughout the year, you must make sure your goals are achievable, so you won't feel defeated if you do not achieve them. According to a 2013 Google Consumer survey conducted in conjunction with TransUnion, roughly 22 percent of Americans gave up on their financial goals for the year by August of that year. This is why it's necessary to set realistic and obtainable goals. And once you complete these achievements, the payoff will be all the more rewarding.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself about your personal finances:

Do I have any unnecessary spending habits?
It's easy to get consumed in all the new restaurants opening, upcoming movies or the latest personal device, but you need to look at what is necessary spending and what can be put on hold. To get your financial goals in order, try planning all your expenditures and see if you can reduce smaller purchases like coffee, snacks, sporting events or beauty treatments.

While some of these things might seem more important than others, you still need to see where your money is going in your checking account and how you can save efficiently. According to Forbes, you should try to replace daily habit purchases with better routines.

"It's just like getting into a new workout routine," said Katie Brewer, an expert financial planner for LearnVest, according to Forbes. "Instead of focusing on 'I want to lose 30 pounds,' you focus on 'I'll go to the gym twice a week.' If you treat habits in this way - and focus on what the small step is that you can accomplish each week - then you'll really make big progress in helping to conquer those bad money habits."

What is the state of my savings account?
While providing more funds for your savings account might sound easier said than done, there are some quick tricks to build your nest egg and provide youself an emergency fund. According to Daily Finance, emergency events such as a major car repair or a trip to the emergency room could cost thousands. You have to be prepared for these events and replace bad spending habits with saving money.

For example, every time you come close to buying something that you know would be considered "unnecessary," put that money toward your savings account. Have more confidence with the state of your savings account by replacing money spent on something as small as a cup of coffee and add it your nest egg or emergency savings. You'll be surprised what $3 a day will add up to in your savings over time.

Am I addressing my debts in the right way?
If you're like most Americans, you have some sort of debt in your name. According to Consumer Reports, the average U.S. family owes roughly $15.000 in debt on average. Many people want to work toward paying off debts, but you have to take a smart approach to defeat the challenge:

  • If you have multiple sources of debt, pay the most toward the areas with high interest rates and the minimums where there are low interest rates.
  • Don't let interest ruin your finances by spending unnecessary money on your debts.
  • Any place you can find redundant expenditures is an area you should eliminate.

For more information about smart ways to manage your finances, contact Landmark Bank.

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