Not that we’re almost finished with the first month of the new year, the time is now to get your finances on track for not only this year, but to set yourself up for success going forward. After all, while you may be living paycheck to paycheck now, you want to ensure that by the time you do retire, even if that’s decades away, you don’t have to worry about not having a nest egg due to a sea of debt and you can enjoy the life experiences that you may not have had a chance to fully embrace due to a heavy work-life balance. By making a few changes, you can boost your finances in no time.
Set Realistic Goals
While some join the gym and have goals of losing thirty pounds by summer, that’s not realistic for, well, anyone to actually achieve, so after a few weeks or even months, the visits to the gym become less and less and pretty soon you’re paying monthly membership dues for something you’re not even going to. By setting realistic financial goals, you’re more likely to stick to them, not to mention be able to see success, even if it’s something as small as putting away a hundred dollars a month into a savings account.
Create a Budget
If you were asked how much you spend on food, gas, or entertainment in a month, would you be able to say? While you may know how much you spend on your mortgage, car payment, or even utility bills, it’s the spending that can get away from you and pretty soon you wonder where all of your money went. By taking a look at last month’s debit for credit card statement, you can see every dollar that went out, and begin to put together a budget of how much you should be spending, and then stick to it.
Reduce Unnecessary Spending
The way to really free up extra money every month is to reduce unnecessary spending. While this could easily mean cutting out random shopping sprees that are not essential items, but you could also dig in a little further and start to include going out to eat or even your cable bill. While sure it’s nice and easy to go to your favorite restaurant, the costs add up quickly compared to going to the grocery store. With cable, it might be a tough pill to swallow to get rid of, but just think about how many channels you actually watch, let alone paying for a streaming service on top of that, which you’re likely to mostly watch anyways.
Save, Save, Save
Whether it’s building up a few months’ worth of reserves for an emergency cushion if you need to cover unexpected charges, or contributing more towards your retirement account, it’s good to get away from having to life paycheck to paycheck entirely and give yourself a financial buffer zone so you can really put your efforts into living debt-free and really put your hard-earned income to good use with plenty of life enjoyment.