The Best New Year’s Resolutions for Your Finances
What is the biggest change you’d like to see going into 2019? Do you want to switch jobs or buy a home? Maybe your resolutions are subtle, involving things like getting healthier or spending more quality time with your family.
Whether you’re a “go big or go home” resolutioner or you just make promises to yourself to do better, you should include your finances in there somewhere.
Setting financial goals is an integral part of life: hopefully, you are already planning for retirement or determining how much money you need in your emergency fund. Using the new year as an opportunity to reevaluate your goals helps to provide encouragement, and gives you an opportunity for a fresh start.
By setting realistic goals that are both achievable and tailored to your specific financial situation, you can ensure that they stick well beyond February, too.
Here are a few of our favorite financial resolutions, and how you can implement them in 2019.
Sure, finally clearing out that storage unit is a great goal (and is on my own personal to-do list for the new year). However, organization extends into your finances, too.
Getting organized can mean different things to different people. Maybe you have a stack of receipts and bills in your kitchen that need to be filed away, so that you can track your expenses. Or perhaps you have trouble managing different due dates and have missed a few payments this year.
Sit down and figure out where your finances are lacking in organization. If needed, utilize software designed to make managing your money easier – such as Pulse for tracking your cash flow or Personal Capital for consolidating all of your accounts in one place – and develop a system that you can stick with.
Find a Better Balance
Money can be stressful, whether you’re worried about watching your spending or earning enough of it. It’s very easy to get caught up in the anxiety of managing your work-life balance, and between saving money and enjoying life.
For 2019, spend some time identifying any unhealthy imbalances you may have in your life, when it comes to your finances. Then, make it your year’s focus to bring those closer to neutral.
Maybe you spend too much time working in an attempt to keep up with your spending, and your family is suffering. In this case, efforts to reduce spending and maintain a budget could improve your home life.
Or maybe you are so focused on saving money that you forget to actually enjoy life. Yes, saving is very important… but not if you can’t enjoy living a little along the way.
Nail Down Your Budget
What’s the biggest thing that can make or break your finances for life, whether you make $30,000 a year or $3 million? Your budget.
Your financial situation doesn’t really rely on how much you earn. If you aren’t spending within your means and you don’t have a plan along the way, you can wind up in hot water. This is why we hear stories of people with $40,000 salaries retiring as millionaires, and famous athletes going bankrupt. It all comes down to your budget.
If you don’t have a good budget yet, or are having trouble sticking to one you’ve already established, make that your focus for the new year. Determine the plan that guides you to all of your financial goals, and find a way to stick with it. Whether that’s implementing an envelope system, using a debt snowball to pay off credit cards, or downloading money management software to track your moves.
Get More Money
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with trying to get more money, if you have the ability and time. This could come in the form of a promotion or raise, where you actually earn more. Or perhaps you put your skills to work with a new side hustle, making cash on the side.
But the easiest way to get more money each month is really just to KEEP more of what you already earn.
If this if your resolution for 2019, look into all of the ways you can meet this goal. Can you trim excess from your monthly spending by cutting the cord, switching cell phone providers, or switching auto insurance companies? Are you spending too much money at restaurants, which could be saved by cooking at home more?
Depending on your career, a salary bump could be possible. Whether that means asking for a raise, working toward a promotion, or even changing jobs, you may be able to increase your paycheck in the new year.
Side hustles are a popular way to earn more money in spare time. They have even been known to turn into full-fledged careers! If you have a talent, skill, or expertise, see if you can turn it into cash on the side, even if it’s just a few hours a month.
Make a Plan to Get Out of Debt
If you’re in debt, getting out is probably already a goal. Use 2019 to make that goal a reality.
Sit down and make a plan; this may even require utilizing all of the resolutions mentioned above. The sooner you get out of debt, the more cash flow you’ll have each month and the less you’ll spend on interest payments. Your credit score will also see a bump, which can mean lower interest rates in the future.
The great thing about setting money-based resolutions is that they are continual works-in-progress. By slowly implementing small changes and adjusting your mindset, you’ll ensure that your financial situation improves not only in 2019, but for life.