If your old way of handling money hasn’t worked for you in the past, give these five tips a whirl.
Make specific goals for your money this year
Resolutions can sometimes be vague. Goals that aren’t specific can leave room for negotiation later on and the next thing you know a goal can fall by the wayside. Make goals specific before the new year even starts so you know what to expect.
A sure way is to make SMART goals. That means that your goals are:
- Specific (you know what you want)
- Measurable (it is quantifiable so you can track it)
- Action-oriented (clear steps to make it happen)
- Realistic (everything is possible)
- Time-bound (the timeframe for getting this done has to be manageable
Get your family involved in financial milestones
Finances don’t have to be something that only you are involved in. Getting your spouse and even children involved in the financial activities can significantly help in accountability. If you have a spouse, talk to that person about the goals you have for the finances in the household. Ask them to commit along with you in making them happen. That could look different for every couple. For some that could mean merging accounts for the first time. For others that could be neither of you using any credit cards for a while.
If you have children, they can start learning about money. Give them allowances or gift them the task of handling a ‘loose change’ jar helps learn accountability towards money. Children could also help with the goals of the home by making a financial vision board for the family to hang in an office or family room. If your children are older they could start reading financial books along with you while you start educating them on finances before they leave home. Depending on the age of your child or children there is a way they could participate along with you and your spouse.
Set resolutions on things outside of saving more money
A common resolution people have for the new year is to save more money or spend less. Though these are great ways to start, there is so much more you can do with your finances that can get you ahead. A new way to think about money could be in the form of how you are spending it. Maybe you are trying not to overspend. A solution is carrying cash and not using cards. Another creative way for handling your money is by creating a change jar. Clean out your car and purse for change and start putting all the change you accumulate into a jar. Use that money at the end of the year for something fun.
This could also mean handling administrative things around your finances. Consider updating wills and beneficiaries to your estate. You could also use this time to review the insurance policies that you have and see if it is something you want to make changes to. You could use this time to also look at the various accounts you have as well. Do you have frequent flyer miles and hotel discounts? Think about ways to utilize the things you already have access to instead of letting them go to waste.
Learn about money, not just finances
Policies that affect your finances are passed all the time. Learning about money beyond personal finances is important. Even if you are not into money and how it works, it is important to learn how things can impact you in the future. People are learning about money every day so they can protect their family and make the best financial decisions for them. You can have that same power but you first have to educate yourself.
Pick up some best selling books on finances, stocks, investing, etc. The way you learn is not the most important part. What matters is that you start expanding your knowledge.
Think about lifestyle changes that will impact your money in a better way
Your financial journey doesn’t mean changing just your finances directly. There are plenty of indirect things that impact your finances. Changing some lifestyle habits could help your financial situation greatly improve as well. One thing many people experience as a financial challenge is eating out. If you desire to tighten up your finances, progressively starting to cook at home will erase a huge dent in your monthly expenses. Another lifestyle change could be finding ways to stay fit at home without having to spend money on a gym membership if you really can’t afford it. There are blogs and resources available that teach you how you can stay fit for a minimal investment. Other lifestyle changes can be even bigger. If you live in a city with an effective transit system consider getting rid of your car and using the city metro system to save money.
Only you know the lifestyle changes to implement that will help you manage your finances with less stress. How will you be handling money differently in the new year?