You may have made some resolutions last week to better your mind and your body, and a great way to help both is focusing on your wallet. Making 2015 the year you revamp how you manage your money can secure your financial future and reduce the stress in your life. Check out the money moves to make this year below.
1. Be Honest About Your Situation
The first thing you need is a good attitude about your finances. Challenge yourself to improve your fiscal health — assess where you are, create a better budget and get serious. It’s important to remember that you can take control of your money. You want to be intentional with your money and know how it is being used to spend responsibly, avoid debt and save more.
2. Set Clear, Attainable Goals
You may think you have heard this before, but it is important to be as specific and realistic as possible when setting financial goals. If you have a big-picture goal like buying your first home, it’s best not to set a vague goal. Commit to saving a certain amount each month that will go toward your down payment. The clearer you can be from the start, the more likely your saving methods will succeed.
3. Challenge All Expenses
Now that you have a budget and established goals, start to question where your money is going. Ask yourself if you really need all the memberships and bills you shell out for. Negotiate with yourself and find small ways to save, like eating out less or fixing up any issues in the house yourself. This can work best if you have a partner — consider asking a family member, friend or roommate to work on this with you to help maintain motivation.
4. Tackle Debt
Use 2015 to double down on your debt. Hold a garage sale or cut back on your monthly spending in little ways so you can make just one or two extra payments on outstanding balances. This will help you pay your debts (credit cards, personal loans, student loans, etc.) off faster and save you money because you will be paying less interest in the long run. You can use this credit card payoff calculator to help you create a debt-free timeline.
5. Invest in Yourself
It’s important to realize that you are one of your greatest assets and invest accordingly, both time and money. This year, you could focus on your professional development by learning a new and marketable skill. You could also start focusing on your nest egg to make sure your retirement is funded. Maybe working on your credit can be part of your goal for 2015 too (you can get two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com to track your progress).
If you want to get in better control and find more success with your finances, there is no time like the present. Follow these tips and make this your best financial year yet.