As a new year creeps up on us, we often find ourselves thinking about resolutions and goals we want to set. Resolutions are all about striving for success – whether it’s related to our health, fitness, careers, personal goals or finances. In this line of work, I talk to a lot of folks who are eager to reach their financial goals but often don’t know where to start. If you’re committed to saving money next year, here are a few key ways to make that happen and nail that New Year’s resolution:
Start with a list
If you’re committed to saving money, it means that some things are going to have to give; it’s that simple. The first thing to do is write out every single item you spend money on in an average month and then start crossing off the things you can live without or reduce. Here are some of the most common culprits that eat away at our budgets, while often going under the radar:
When you’re in ‘serious saving’ mode, it’s important to tell your friends and family so they can help you stick to your goals. This way, they’ll understand and support you when temptations creep up and you have passed on an expensive dinner out, or opt out of gift-giving in exchange for a helping hand.
- The coffee shop – we love our Tim’s, but if we limit it to say one a week, the savings will add up. Coffee at home is great, and it’s faster than the drive-thru.
- Eating out & ordering delivery – treat yourself on occasion, but make meals at home most of the time.
- Cell phones – you can likely negotiate your plan and live with less data.
- Impulse purchases – start planning ahead for groceries, gifts, and clothes so you aren’t stuck paying full price. Check the weekly flyers and make a list.
- Movies and concerts – there’s a ton of free fun to bad had – you don’t need to spend a ton of money. Get creative and talk to your friends and family about what you can do.
Our homes and apartments have sneaky ways of making us spend money. A little here, a little there, and before we know it, we’re in over our heads. Here are ways to cut down those home-related expenses – without having to move back in with the folks:
- Internet, TV, gaming – again, consider negotiating the plans you have and hold off on video games that cost big bucks.
- Heating – turn down the heat and the hot water tank temperature, have shorter showers…and as Grandad always said, “Put on a sweater”. Look into ‘smart thermostats’ and light timers too.
- Fix those drafty doors and windows.
- Use LED bulbs and keep items that aren’t in regular use unplugged.
- Keep decorating costs to a minimum – paint is cheap, as are thrift store décor items.
- Got a lot of clutter you don’t want around or that you just don’t use? Consider selling those items on the internet or at consignment shops.
Deal with debt
If you’ve got a credit card bill with a high-interest rate, one of the worst things you can do is only pay the minimum payment each month. When this happens, you end up spending more of your hard-earned money on interest, and the amount owing will continue to rise, as will your stress levels. For anyone carrying over a balance each month on bills, credit cards, and/or past loans, there’s a good chance you’re paying higher-than-needed interest rates. You can merge all of those various payments into one convenient monthly payment while paying less in interest. Consolidating debt also means a lot less stress and financial headaches. To find out more about how it works and what your options are, check out my article here.
If you’re committed to nailing that New Year’s resolution and setting financial goals that will get you where you want to be, then be sure to talk to me. As an experienced mortgage broker in Simcoe County, I also work with my clients to find financial solutions that work, such as debt consolidations, home equity take-outs, and more. For help mapping out those goals, getting out of debt and finding financial success, contact me today at (705) 315-0516 and let’s chat.