Improve your Finances in the New Year

The year is coming to to an end. Now is a great time to be thinking about how you can improve your finances in the coming year.

Improve your finances

Personally, I love to do new year’s resolutions. Not everyone likes to because of the feeling of failing. The truth is, some years I am successful at following through with my resolutions, and some years I’m not. However, I still like to try. There’s a few I’ve already got in mind for this year.

Whether you are a New Year Resolution kind of person or not, it’s always good to aim for starting the new year off with getting your finances on track.

Today I want to talk about some of the ways you can plan to do that. Remember, without a plan it’s very hard to be successful in your goals, so it is always wise to have some sort of plan on how you are going to accomplish the goals you want to.

IMPROVE YOUR FINANCES THIS NEW YEAR

Budget. Not everyone likes to budget. If your finances are under control without a budget, keep doing what you are doing because clearly it’s working. However, if your finances need a bit of an overhaul, it’s time to start budgeting. Budgeting doesn’t have to be scary. You just need to be able to write down your financial situation the way it is, not the way you wish it was. A budget allows you to be realistic in what money is really coming in and what is going out.

Take steps to live more frugally. There are always ways we can save a bit of money by living a frugal life. If you are new to frugal living you may want to take baby steps. That’s okay. To help you with those baby steps that don’t feel too overwhelming, check out my post on small ways you can save money. If you want to dive right in full force, try  80 of the Best Frugal Living Tips.

Keep track of everything, not just budget. Up above I talked about how important it is to keep track of your budget. However, you should also keep track of things like your debt, and your savings. Write it down on a spreadsheet, or just a notebook, or a planner, whichever works best for you.

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Wherever you decide to write down isn’t as nearly as important as just WRITING it down in the first place. Decide that this year you will keep track of all your finances to allow you to get a clear picture of everything that is happening, along with being encouraged when you see visible improvement.

Decide to start the year off with a 30 day No-Spend Challenge. What is that exactly? Well, it’s 30 days of not spending on anything but necessities. This can help you not only by saving money, but by resetting bad spending habits you may have developed.

Be sure to lay some ground rules for your 30 day spending freeze and then stick to them. The rules you decide on will vary depending on your family and your lifestyle, but the goal ultimately is to cut back drastically on spending for one month. We’ve done this challenge every year for the past few years and it has allowed us to save hundreds of dollars as well as save up a large chunk of what we needed for a family trip.

Start an emergency fund. An emergency fund is so important and can help you save money by being prepared when a crisis happens. When it comes to paying down debt or building up an emergency fund, even Dave Ramsey says you should work on a small, 500 – 1000 dollar emergency fund (depending on income) before you attack debt. The last thing you want to do when faced with an emergency is to pull out your credit card.

Get rid of extra credit cards. Since we are on the topic of credit cards, why not consider getting rid of some credit cards if you own multiple cards? If you are in debt and have a habit of “charging” it, getting rid of too many credit cards can help you get control of the situation.

Years ago between my husband and I we had three credit cards. We decided we didn’t need three, but only one between the two of us. So we got rid of two. That was years ago and we’ve never missed them. We’ve especially not missed the extra debt that somehow ended up on the cards when we “forgot” that we charged something on it until the bill came.

Even if one card between you and your spouse doesn’t seem like enough, consider limiting it to one each.

Add a side hustle. If you are struggling for money and want a change in the new year, it may be time to add in a side hustle. There comes a point where you just can’t save anymore and have to add some income. There are so many ways to make money these days, all that is required is a little creativity and determination. If you only have a couple hours a week and only are looking to make a little extra cash for your pocket, you can try your hand at doing surveys with companies like Survey Junkie, Swagbucks, or VIP Voice Panel.

If you are looking to put the time and effort into a business, you can try blogging. I set up my blog with Bluehost 10 months ago and haven’t looked back and it has allowed me to make decent money from home.  If you want to blog to make money, be sure to purchase a host like Bluehost.  Free hosting is fine for a hobby blog, but purchased hosting is necessary for an income generating blog.  The good news is that it is quite affordable.

If blogging or surveys aren’t your thing, there is a ton of other ideas of how you can make money. For a list of ideas check out my post on how to make money on the side, or if you are a homesteader, try 25 ways to make money from homesteading. The ideas are endless.

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU

The new year doesn’t have to be like the last year. Decide today that you are going to make changes that improve your finances. Every baby step adds up and if you commit to making different choices than your previous year, when the following year comes to a close you will look back and see how all those baby steps paid off (hopefully literally).

Meet this new year with determination and drive. Whatever resolutions or changes you want to make in your life, go at it in full force, deciding that nothing is going to stand in your way this time of achieving your goals. We are often our worst critic when it comes to our shortcomings and we can easily tell ourselves we won’t hit what we are aiming for. We need to ignore those negative voices that tell us that. You are more than capable. It will be tiring. There will be days you want to quit. You will have to fight against the voice that tells you it’s too hard.

But if you do, you won’t regret it. Make this new year the year you improve your finances.

2 thoughts on “Improve your Finances in the New Year”

  1. Our one goal for next year is to move to a smaller house. This alone will hugely change our finances since we are paying to live in a huge house that we just do not need anymore.

    1. What a good plan. Housing can be so expensive. One day when our kids move out we will definitely move to something smaller. We are not the type who feel we need to stay in one place forever.

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