A new beginning (such as a new year) is a great time to set, or review, financial goals. If you want 2015 to be the year you pay off your credit card, take that dream holiday or invest, now is the time to plan to ensure you reach your goals.

Because many of our outgoings are conveniently automated it can be harder to understand where you’re truly placed financially. No matter what you’re financially aiming for this year, taking control of your financial situation will be key. Here are my top three tips for taking back control of your finances to ensure you reach your goals in 2015.

1. Get clarity with a budget

Taking the time to document income against your expenses is necessary to get a complete picture. A budget will help you truly understand your opportunities to save, or perhaps even make, more money.

Once you’ve entered all your income and expenses, you’ll know your disposable income. With this figure you can allocate a regular amount to paying off your debts or to put into a high interest savings account. Make your monthly goal realistic and set up automatic payments into the relevant accounts on pay day. Make it achievable – it’s important you’re still able to enjoy 2015 or you’ll likely quit early on and feel guilty about it later.

2. Save the easy way

One of the easiest ways to save can be by reviewing your expenses to find cheaper options. Your home loan will likely be your biggest ongoing financial commitment so it’s important to check that it’s still working for you.

Call me to organise a home loan review so I can make sure it fits with your new goals. Depending on your situation, I could find a loan that saves you money or structure it differently to free up some cash flow for you to invest or travel.

If your goals are focused on debt repayment, consolidation may be an option for you which can reduce interest and simplify your repayments.

Insurance premiums can be another opportunity to save money. Shopping around can free up cash which you can redirect into paying off debt sooner or building your savings.

3. Be the boss of your credit card

The interest rate on credit cards can be high so look into how you can save money by switching or transferring balances. Some cards have a 12 month interest free period if you switch or your bank may have a credit card with a lower interest rate available.

While you’re working hard to pay off credit card debt try to use it less. Work towards being able to pay off the total amount owing on your card every month to avoid paying interest.