There are several steps you can take to ensure you get off on the right financial foot in 2015.

With 2015 now here for good, individuals and small business owners alike should make every effort to start out the new year on the right financial foot. Check out these tips to help you get your finances in good shape early in the year – and how to avoid stubbing your toe as we get further into the calendar:

File your taxes on time.

The 2015 tax season officially opens January 20. There are several filing deadlines on the horizon, including a March 15 deadline for corporate owners, an April 15 deadline for individuals, and a May 15 deadline for owners of nonprofit organizations. Get all of your tax filings done early to avoid any late-filing and late-payment IRS penalties. Plus, you should get your tax refund sooner by being an early bird during the 2015 tax season.

Start saving for the rest of the year.

There is no better time to start setting aside a portion of your income than the beginning of the year. Come up with a certain percentage of your income to save, and make up your mind that you will put this amount into a savings account every week or month. This could be a 401(k), a Roth IRA, or another retirement account.

Adjust your 2015 budget from last year’s budget.

If you have receipts or other financial records from 2014, take a close look at them. Determine how much money you spent on large purchases and what your ongoing expenses were. Did you buy a new SUV? Take a Mediterranean cruise? Eat dinner out a few more nights than you probably should have? Once you analyze last year’s numbers, determine how you can save more money in 2015 by adjusting your personal budget. Find ways to cut costs whenever possible. For example, you can often pick up some nice clothes at a thrift store instead of going to a big corporate chain. Set a number for your budget of expenses, and do your best to stick to it as the year progresses.

Find ways to beef up your personal income.

If you work as a W-2 employee, ask your employer for a raise if you haven’t seen one for some time. Consider advancing your career by looking for a better job or getting a new certification. Explore other income sources like flipping houses, walking dogs on weekends, or turning your hobby into a for-profit small business venture. You don’t have to look far to find ways to beef up your personal income – and still have plenty of free time.

Find ways to increase your company’s bottom line.

If you are one of the millions of entrepreneurs out there serving as your own boss, come up with some new strategies to either raise capital or increase profits in your small business. Slightly increase your prices and see how your customers respond. Explore the great financial benefits of crowdfunding. Step up your marketing efforts, and narrow your target demographic to ensure you’re reaching the most appropriate pool of potential consumers. Hire an assistant to give you more time to focus on increasing sales and profits. Overall, be more proactive as a small business owner in 2015. Your business bank account will appreciate it.

For more 2015 finance tips that will help you start off the year right, turn to the accounting experts at 1-800Accountant. Call 1-800-222-6868 or check out www.1-800Accountant.

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Written by Taylor Covey

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