As you head into the new year, you may have a lot of goals on your mind. Perhaps implementing healthier habits, spending more time with family and friends, or becoming more fiscally responsible is your focus for 2020. The exciting thing about starting the new year is that it feels almost like you’re starting off on a clean slate, which is why so many of us make it a point to create resolutions following December 31st.
In fact, Inc.com recently reported that 32% of Americans surveyed said that saving more and spending less was one of their New Year’s resolutions. So, with the promise of the new year just around the corner, how can you develop healthier money habits?
In this post, we’ll discuss some simple ways you can step up your savings, curb spending, and boost your financial literacy.
1) Create SMART goals
One of the best ways to motivate yourself to practice healthy money habits is to consider the reason(s) why you’re changing your habits in the first place. Maybe you want to boost your credit score, build your emergency savings, pay off debt, or save up for your dream home or vacation. Use these end goals to your advantage using the SMART method.
- Specific: Ex. come up with a specific dollar amount you want to save.
- Measurable: Use a budgeting app, your bank statements, or other tools to track your progress.
- Achievable: Challenge yourself, but don’t overcommit.
- Realistic: “I want to save $100 each paycheck”, not “I want to save $3M this year.”
- Timely: Set a date (or recurring deadlines) to help you stay motivated.
2) Establish responsible debt and bill management practices
Recognizing that you’re in a cycle of debt can be a really scary thing and your finances (and possibly personal life) could suffer many consequences as a result. Your credit score could take a dip, your valuables could be repossessed, and you might end up incurring unmanageable interest rates, to name a few.
To manage your debt more effectively, follow these guidelines:
- Set up automatic payments
- Limit your credit card usage while paying down debt
- Try not to spend more than you can reasonably afford
- Consider consolidating debts to make bill payments more seamless
3) Find areas to cut back spending
If you’re focused on saving money, evaluate where you can limit your spending. Whether it’s cooking more meals at home, cutting back on your utilities, or shopping secondhand, every little bit counts!
4) Limit impulsive spending
One of the most important considerations to make when forming better money habits is becoming more intentional about your spending. Once you start to be more conscientious about your spending, you can really start to save.
Next time you’re debating whether or not you should buy something, take a step back and ask yourself the following:
- Do I really need this item?
- Do I have any things like it already?
- Could I find a more affordable alternative?
To take it a step further, try and wait a day or even a week before deciding to make the purchase.
Finding your way toward financial stability isn’t always easy but with these tips you’ll be on the fast-track toward meeting your financial goals.