Skip to main content

If you picked the money, you’re not alone. As we start 2020, many of us are making financial resolutions. Of course, saving more or paying down debt sounds great, but getting started can feel overwhelming. Don’t worry – the FTC has five ideas for things you can do to start the new year off right.

  1. Make a budget.  Before you set new goals or make changes, it’s good to know where you stand. Use this budget worksheet to add up your income for last month and compare it to how much you spent. You might be surprised to see where your dollars are going.
  2. Prioritize your debts.  Are debt payments dominating your budget? Make a list of your debts and their annual interest rates. The debts with the highest interest rates are costing you the most – focus on paying those off first.
  3. Start small.  Look at your budget for areas to cut back. Try starting with one small change, like inviting friends over instead of going out. Put that money to work right away by setting up automatic transfers with your bank or employer, so money goes straight to your savings account.
  4. Sign up for alerts.  Many banks, creditors, and utility companies offer free alerts and reminders when your balances are low or payments are coming due. These services can help you avoid late fees, overdraft charges, or other unexpected costs.
  5. Ask for help.  If you’re having a financial emergency, don’t wait until you’ve already missed payments. Call your creditors before the due date, explain the situation, and ask about your options. Many companies will work with you to create a repayment plan.

Need more financial tips? Keep an eye out for the FTC’s upcoming blog series about credit. Get it straight to your inbox at

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Catherine Kylie
December 31, 2019
Great information and I appreciate it so much thank you. RB
Dobahramn't us…
December 31, 2019
Thank you,I have not any credit card or ID number.Thank you D.H.S.Regards
December 31, 2019
I chose the 5 pounds. What does that say about me?
DReno Nevada
January 01, 2020
As always, thank you for your wonderful tips
January 13, 2020