The start of a new year is synonymous with a fresh start, which comes with setting new goals, and often, one of the goals is achieving financial wellness.

Achieving financial wellness embodies different facets such as budgeting, saving, investing, having a sense of security and satisfaction with one’s current financial situation, managing debt and planning for retirement.

Here are 8 tips to improve your personal finance habits this year:

1. Create a realistic budget: Budgeting gives you control over your finances. It is advisable that you gather your financial information, list your income sources, track your expenses, plan for savings and review and adjust where and when necessary. That way, you can identify unnecessary expenses and get a clear picture of where your money is going. You can also leverage financial technology by using apps and online tools for personalized insights based on your spending habits and financial goals.

2. Practice mindful spending: Differentiate between your needs and wants and consider the long-term impact of your spending habits before you make a purchase. Take your time to decide if a purchase is necessary and if it aligns with your values and long-term goals.

3. Separate your savings: Have your savings in a goal-specific and easily accessible savings account. This practice allows you to monitor your progress for each goal savings set, as well as cater for unexpected expenses such as medical emergencies, repairs, or job loss.

4. Pay off your debts: Debt is a reality for many and may make it harder to save or invest money effectively. It is, therefore, important that you create a debt repayment plan and figure out which repayment strategy works for your situation. Consider consulting a financial advisor for personalized guidance if your debt feels overwhelming.

5. Improve your credit score: Credit scores are numerical representations of your creditworthiness. Therefore, a good credit score can open doors to more favourable loan terms and better interest rates from moneylending institutions. Strive to always pay your bills on time because your payment history is the most significant factor in your credit score.

6. Improve your financial literacy: Set time aside to regularly review your financial situation and track progress towards your goals. Enrich yourself by reading books, taking a financial literacy course or listening to podcasts, which can provide valuable insights on how to manage your money more effectively.

7. Consult financial advisors: Seek professional guidance whenever possible. A financial advisor can offer personalized advice and support whenever you feel stuck or bring fresh thinking into your situation.

8. Review past financial mistakes and victories: Look at your past and go through your statements to figure out what worked and what didn’t. Work with what did (work out), and make improvements effectively.