The start of the new year is the perfect time to set goals for improving your personal finance. It is important to know what your financial standing is and have a financial plan for your future. Establishing good financial habits and creating a financial plan sets you up for success.
Here are five financial New Year’s resolutions and how to achieve them.
1. Pay yourself first.
When you receive your paycheck, put aside money for yourself before spending it on anything else, including bill and groceries. This will help you prioritize long term savings and avoid the temptation of unnecessary purchases in the short term. Your savings can go towards your savings account, emergency savings, or IRA and 401(k) retirement accounts.
To figure out how much you can afford to save, take a look at all your expenses. See how much can afford to put away each month. A good guideline is saving 15-20% of your monthly income. This may not be possible for everyone. Regardless of how much you are saving, it is still very valuable to put aside any amount into your savings.
2. Cut out excess spending
With automatic payments, we can easily forget how many subscriptions we’ve signed up for. While many subscriptions have a low monthly cost, it can add up over time. Take an inventory of your subscriptions from gym memberships, news subscriptions, and streaming services like Hulu and Spotify. If you no longer use the service or product, cancel your subscription to save money. You can always resubscribe in the future if you change your mind later.
Today, people, especially the younger generation, eat out frequently rather than brining a lunch or cooking diner at home. Making your own food will save you money and is typically better for your diet as well. While cooking can take more time out of your day, your wallet will be thanking you later.
Be mindful with your purchases. Avoid the temptation of impulse shopping. Only buy products and services you truly find valuable.
3. Start investing
Investing can grow your money and outpace the rate of inflation. This means you are actually increasing your purchasing power. When it comes to investing, time is on your side. The earlier you begin to invest your money and the longer you let it sit, the higher your return will be.
If you are a beginner, the world of investing can feel daunting. Today, there are tons of amazing and free resources to help people get started. Online brokerages and apps have made investing more accessible to the public. And you can always consult with a financial adviser who can help you create a financial plan based on your life goals. They can guide you on making the types of investments that best suits your needs.
4. Create a budget
Creating and sticking to budget can help you manage your money and track your expenses. A popular budget strategy follows the 50/30/20 rule. This means that 50% of your income goes towards necessary expenses like housing, groceries, gas, etc. Your wants should account for 30% which includes new clothes, eating at a restaurant, going on a night out, etc. The remaining 20% should be put into savings which could be emergency savings, retirement, or another savings goal.
Once you establish a budget, track your expenses throughout the month to ensure you are sticking to you plan and not overspending. You can always make adjustments to your budget as needed.
5. Use financial apps to help with money management
Online banking and finance mobile apps are growing in popularity. Most banks now have apps where you can check your balance, pay bills, transfer money, and more. Brokerages have apps where you can invest and trade in the stock market yourself. There are also apps for budgeting that track your cash flow throughout the month. You can see where you are overspending and find ways to cut back. All of these apps are tools that can help you reach your financial goals.