If you’re looking for the perfect excuse to get focused on your finances but think it’s too late for New Year’s resolutions, think again. The start of 2018 is a great time to hit the “reset” button on your budget. And just like anything, taking the first step is the biggest one, so we’ve rounded-up six helpful tips below to help you start off the year with a money-positive attitude and smart spending and saving habits. Scroll down to see them all.
1. Reset your goals. Without something to work toward, you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. Therefore, it’s important to think through your top goals — both short term and long term — and write them down in a place where you’ll see them every day. Be sure to limit yourself to items that are realistic and prioritized to set the tone for the rest of the year.
2. Change one financial habit. After you’ve assessed your spending habits, take a look at one area where you can change. As we mentioned before, the first step is always the biggest (and usually the most difficult), so start slow. Maybe you can cut down on how much you dine out, start couponing for the grocery store, or finally create an automatic reoccurring transfer to your savings account. Once you prove to yourself that you have the willpower to change one habit, you’ll expand change to others as well.
3. Assess your monthly bills. When it’s all said and done, pay attention to your monthly bills. Take a look at how you’re spending money each month and identify areas where you may have redundant fees or can cut back. For example, if you have a Spotify account, can you create a family plan with your family members or a few friends to split the cost? Or, take a look at your electric and cable bill. Can you handle cutting back on the AC or heat, or go cold turkey on your cable TV habit? Reviewing monthly bills can help you identify easy ways to trim your spending.
4. Turn to technology for help. If your brain starts to snooze as soon as the word “finance” is brought up, then money apps may help you power through. You can sign up for resources like Mint, a platform that aggregates everything from your account balances and bills to your savings goals in one place. With a myriad of tools available, you can create a budget based on your income and spending habits, and understand where most of your money is going.
5. Collect change and put away one dollar a day. This may sound almost too obvious, but not many people actually act upon this. Start saving all of the change you’re given after making purchases — you’ll be surprised at how much this can add up to! Also, set up a daily savings transfer to your bank account of just $1 or $2 a day. This can help you save at least $365 over the course of the year (score!)
6. Prioritize expenses that make you happy. Budgeting can be daunting, but by creating focus with at least one goal that brings value and joy into your life — like a bucket-list vacation or freeing yourself from student loan debt — you can make sure you’re doing something for you. Plus, with something exciting to look forward to, you’re more than likely to stay on track with your financial goals. It’s a win-win!
What are your financial goals for 2018? Share with us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Getty)