By J’Net Adams

MONEYWISE:USE HOLIDAYFORFINANCIAL CHECKUPBy J’Net AdamsWhenever a holidayarrivesis the perfect time to re-evaluate your financesandeverything that has to do with your money. If you havethe holiday off from work, it istheperfect time to do a financialcheckup.This checkupwill help you get more control of youreveryday financial life.Of course youcan’t get your entire financial life together in one day, but maybe you can geta big head start! Here arethree action steps that you can take during the holiday.Money leakage:Our lives get so busy that we don’t notice the money slipping throughour fingers.Sometimes the leakage is our own doing and sometimes it is caused byothers. Take the day to look at your bank statements–whether they are online oronpaper–andstudy itline by line.If you are looking at your statement online then try togo back three months to see if there is anything out of the ordinary. Maybe one monthyou had an overdraft fee and didn’tknow it. Maybe you thought you had discontinued amembership or a subscription, but it never cancelled and you have still been paying itmonthly.Look for leakage from outsiders as well.These leakages are usually caused byscammers who have obtained yourdebit card information or bank information and used itto charge items to your account.If you see anything like that,call your bank immediatelyand report it so that it can be handled.Re-evaluate your agreements:You can also use your day off to lookat the agreements inyour life and adjust them. Or even better, develop a plan to make them financiallybeneficial to you. For example,have you looked at your mortgage lately? Has yourpayment risen since last year? If you don’t think that is possible,ithappened to me andmy payment went up $35 per month. I had to take time to sit down with the bank and myinsurance company to see what the problem was and then fix the problem. Look at yourcar insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, and health insurance to see where youcanmake adjustments for 2018.Automate andmonitor:Look into online banking atyourbank.Most banks and creditunions have budget software as part of their online banking and it can help you get yourspending under control. Youwill put the numbers into the software that you want tospend in each area of your life and it will track it. For example,if you want to only spend$200 for groceries permonthput that number in the software and when you go over thatnumber that part ofthe pie chart will turn red.If you stay within the number,that part ofthe pie chart will stay green. Although you are automating this part of your financial life,you will still need to monitor it so that if you overspend you can correct it!You will not be able to do everything with your financial life in one day, but this is astrong start!