Looking for ways to make sure this year is your best yet? Here are seven smart money moves that will set the foundation for a successful year. Plus, you can use them at any time!
1 – Use Your Calendar
Mark your paydays, regular and irregular bills, and the amounts (or estimates of amounts) coming in and going out. This is especially valuable for visual and big picture thinkers like me. I use a yearly wall planner – a big one! – similar to this.
2 – Review the Last 12 Months
Take some time to assess your financial performance over the last year. What worked, what didn’t? What did you achieve? Was it what you hoped? Are your debts down and your savings up? How did your budget fair? Can you tighten further, or do you need to loosen the reigns a bit? And most importantly, how can you apply what you learned to this brand new year?
3 – Review Your Budget
Check the specifics of your budget to make sure it still works. Is there a bill or debt that no longer applies? Have prices for fuel, electricity, gas, and food gone up in your area? Then you’ll need to increase the budget allocation for these sections. Were you happy with how you managed your budget? Did you use an app, a spreadsheet, or cash envelope system? Is it time to try something different? For example, I often struggle to keep the grocery spending on budget, so while I’m not a cash person, this year, I’m thinking of using the cash envelope system specifically for that part of my budget.
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4 – Forecast
No, you won’t need a crystal ball, but you will need to think about what’s likely to be on the horizon this year. For example, a family wedding or dental work like orthodontics. The better you plan now, the better prepared (and less stressed) you’ll be later.
5 – Negotiate Better Deals
Oftentimes, a single phone call can result in much better deals for everything from your car insurance to your electricity bill. So, call your service providers and ask for a better deal. This step is especially important if your budget is looking very tight for the year.
6 – Increase Your Income
If you’re in a position to, ask for or actively work toward getting a pay rise. But make sure you don’t increase your spending to match that raise! Diversifying your income is a smart money move, too. Options for increasing the revenue side of your budget include starting a business on the side: selling new, second-hand or hand-made goods online or at markets, tutoring, gardening… the list is as long as your skills and imagination. There are likely to be tax and other legal implications, so remember to factor those in.
7 – Dream Big
Sometimes you need to aim for the stars to get to the top of the trees, so dream big. Then, take the time to create some goals to get you there, one step at a time. You might not achieve your dream this year, but if you set and work on your goals all year, you’ll be well on the way to making that dream a reality by the next new year’s eve.
Remember, any time of the year is a great time to review your budget and make some smart money moves to ensure you’re on the right financial path.
Even the best navigators, financial or otherwise, check their current position regularly. When did you last check your financial GPS?