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We are so excited to say a New Year is upon us―and with it new successes, learnings and experiences! New Year resolutions have been made since the dawn of time and for good reason. They help pave the way for what’s ahead and give us goals to work on. This year, change up your old resolutions routine and focus on bettering your personal finance.
Here are 10 easy financial resolutions that you can make (and achieve!):
You can’t plan for the future if you don’t look at your past. Go through your bank and credit card statements and see where you’re currently sitting. What financial mistakes did you make last year? What did you succeed in?
Once you’ve taken a look at your past financial mistakes and victories, make a list of your financial goals for this New Year. They can be over-arching, big goals or smaller, specific goals. Whatever you wish to achieve, jot them down somewhere you can see them every day.
Now that you know what financial goals you want to achieve this year, create a budget to make them happen. How much money do you bring in each month and how much of that goes to household expenses, childcare, commuting, entertainment, clothes, paying off debt, etc.? Take a good, hard look at your money and then make an action plan to stay ahead of the game.
Once you know how much of your money will be going to each funnel, think about how you spend your money on any given day. Do you buy coffee each morning? Go out for lunch once a week? Pay for services you never use? Assess your spending habits and then commit to changing at least one of these habits to save you money.
Technology has given us the power to save money more easily and efficiently. By automating your online banking to withdraw money from your chequing account to go into your savings, TFSA or RRSP accounts, you’ll never have the excuse of forgetting or not planning for it.
To make sure you stay on track of your finances, live with this simple rule: pay fast and buy slow. Pay your bills as soon as they come in to avoid late fees and help you understand exactly how much money you have leftover. And adopt a slower spending approach to help minimize impulse purchases and increase rational thinking. This can be done by implementing a “pause” period between when you first consider purchasing something and when you actually purchase it.
If you can’t pay off your balance in full, at least aim to pay off more than the minimum payment. Ensure you have the money in your bank account before making purchases on your credit card. This will help you break the never-ending cycle of working to pay off your credit card while you add more purchases onto it.
To make sure you stay on track this year, get the support of your family and friends. Tell them your financial goals and how they can help you achieve them―whether that’s going out for dinner less and adopting a cheaper hang out routine, or simply being a “check-in” person for you to update them on your progress.
Expanding your financial knowledge is one of the best investments you can make for yourself this year. Learning more about money management, debt, credit, budgeting, retirement, etc. will not only help you now but for years to come. A great way to start is by picking up a personal finance book from your local library or financially educating yourself through our array of online and in-person classes.
If you haven’t already, make an appointment with one of our experienced and compassionate credit counsellors to look at your debt consolidation options. Carrying multiple balances (and all with varying interest rates) can be intimidating and all-consuming. Make it your mission this year to end the constant stress of debt by seeing if you qualify for our Orderly Payment of Debts (OPD) program.
Every month on our social channels and e-newsletter, we challenge our followers to make a change in their financial routine. It’s a great way to break old habits, learn something new about yourself and get one step closer to financial freedom. Join us now on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!
If you’re having trouble making your minimum payments on your credit card or are spending more than you’re bringing in, maybe it’s time to start a side hustle to make more money. There are lots of ways to do this—from babysitting, dog-walking, pet sitting, house sitting, baking, crafting, coaching, refereeing, tutoring, landscaping, etc. The options are endless and can make you good money on the side!
Money Mentors offers workplace financial education workshops for companies and communities to partake in, with topics ranging from tackling debt, planning for retirement, fraud prevention and everything in between. We’d be more than happy to come talk to your employees/co-workers about personal finance!
Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s make the most of these next 12 months!