It’s become a bit of a cliché to talk about resolutions at the start of the New Year. You’re going to be inundated with pitches to exercise more, “eat right” or pick up a new hobby. These resolutions start out with the best of intentions but ultimately most of us can’t manage to keep them. Within a few days or weeks, we’re back to our old habits. Perhaps only a psychiatrist knows why we can’t keep our resolutions. While giving up the sweets might seem like an impossible task, getting into some good financial habits at the start of the year is easier than you think. And there is no better time to look at what you might be doing right and perhaps wrong when it comes to your finances and make a change to see a more prosperous 2018. These are by no means brand new ideas but rather tried and tested concepts worth considering.
- Set and write down your financial goals for the year. Having these goals written down will help you stay on task. Review them as often as you need to.
- Review your household budget. Sometimes we get caught off guard by just how much money we’re spending every month. Take a good look at those expenses, and if there are a few items you can cut, go for it. Everyone has something they spend their money on they think they can’t live without. But being fiscally responsible takes some discipline.
- Pay down your credit cards. Credit can be a great thing. It helps get you out of a bind when you need it, or help with an important purchase you can pay for later. But having too much credit-card debt can hurt in the long run. Try to pay off as much of your credit-card debt as you can. Every little bit helps.
- Plan for an annual review day. That means sitting down with your accountant, financial planner, even your mortgage broker to see where you are with your finances. Can you pay a little more for your mortgage? Is there a new government policy or an investment that you haven’t heard about from which you could benefit? Financial professionals are up to speed on all the latest options and can advise you accordingly.
- Be realistic. We’re constantly squeezed between the things we want to buy and the bills we have to pay. You’re not likely going to go from zero to hero financially in a month, but taking a few easy steps, making good choices and chipping away at your debt will start to pay off.
These are just some basic tips to follow. With so many experts and places to look for financial advice, there’s really no excuse not to use the turn of the calendar to get started.