LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- With inflation up, and the stock market down, it's proving to be a tough year for your money. If you want to save, the first step is to figure out how much you're spending and where your money is going.
Financial planner Brian Gilder says, surprisingly, many people don't have a budget plan.
"You don't need to have some sophisticated software. Just take some of the necessity items such as your food, gas, utilities, insurance, those types of expenses and you'll just see right off the bat how much you are spending," Gilder says.
The consumer price index for Los Angeles and Orange counties is up 7.8% from the year before, and the last few months have seen some of the highest yearly cost increases in decades.
Look for things like subscriptions of services you're no longer using. Gilder says people often are wasting money and not even realizing it.
"People are still paying a lot of fees to banks and credit cards, so there are many expenses," Gilder said. "If you just review your bank statements or your credit card statements, you'll see where all these expenses are going."
Next, check on your long-term investments, such as a 401(k).
With the stock market down 20% it might be painful, but it's time to reassess.
"Know what you own and why you own these certain investments, because I think if you understand that you won't panic and then what happens is that when we panic we make terrible financial decisions," Gilder says.
Gilder says some people panic and sell, which is the wrong thing to do now.
"I would definitely contribute to my 401(k), especially if the company is matching because that is a real nice boost to your investments," Gilder says.
"And also you have to remember that when you're dollar cost averaging, you are buying more shares of whatever you're investing in at lower prices now," Gilder says. "The idea is that dollar cost averaging, putting a little bit of money away every month for the long-term. The key to building wealth is compounding your money and not touching it."
As 2022 comes to an end, it is time for some year-end planning. Gilder says try to have at least a three to six-month emergency fund.
"I think that really helps people because when we get into a bind, instead of borrowing money or forced to sell any investment, we have an emergency fund that we can use for the unforeseen expenses," he said. "You don't have to build up a three to six-month emergency fund all at once, but slowly, gradually, as you have extra cash put that away."