New Year’s resolutions don’t have to always be about cutting out the cookies and walking a few extra miles. Sometimes, it’s about establishing a financial and mental foothold to make the upcoming season a bit easier and less stressful. With Christmas right behind you, it may mean reevaluating spending, looking at credit card debt and preparing for the future. It’s possible to kick out a bad spending habit and work to put yourself on a solid fiscal path. Consider the following resolutions as you say goodbye to 2019 and welcome in 2020.
1. Review Your Budget
Look through receipts, bills and statements. How much are you actually spending per month? Awareness is important because consumers often don’t really understand the bottom line of their spending. Sit down at the computer, and open up a spreadsheet. List out all of your expenses, and tally it up. Compare that number to your income. Some experts recommend saving up to 30% of your income per month. If that’s not possible, look to start with 5% and gradually increase savings from there.
2. Prepare for Emergencies
Life happens. How will you handle the unexpected? After all, people get sick, plumbing breaks and cars need repair. Have a plan to pay off these bills. If your savings account isn’t set up yet then look for short term loan agencies. For example, CEO Don Gayhardt of CURO works hard to see that his companies provide assistance to those in need, no matter the credit score. It’s about getting people on the right foot without long-term loans. Be aware of a location in your area.
3. Sacrifice One Expense
Set a resolution now to give up something you love but don’t require. Do you like to buy cookies every week? Do you stop and grab coffee? Establish something small, maybe five dollars a week. Make efforts to put that into a savings account or use it to pay off a credit card a bit more each month.
4. Switch a Service
Your television and phone can cost you a good deal of money. Consider looking for an alternative. Cable streaming services have sprung up. You may not have 200 channels, but you’ll still get most of the popular ones and reduce your spending. In addition, many small cellular businesses are getting started. Many of them use the main cell towers, offering similar service simply with a lower price point.
5. Pay in Cash
Try only using your credit card for certain expenses and opt to spend cash for the others. The act of handing over physical money could force you to think about your choices. It’s easy to swipe plastic. Decide how much you want to allocate for groceries or personal splurges each week. Put the funds in a wallet or envelop. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
January 1 is a day for a fresh start, so use it to establish a goal that could benefit your down the road. Reevaluate how your expenditures, and make some small steps that could lead to big changes.