5 Expert Tips To Make This Your Best Money Year Ever
‘Tis the time of year where we write down resolutions, renew gym memberships, and promise that we’ll get our lives together. And then, we go back to work, get back into our regular routines, lose our gym memberships, and spend our arvos at the beach. Which is all fine, really. But if there’s one thing you’re actually going to get sorted in the season of resolutions, make it your finances.
It’s likely that the Christmas and New Year period has done a good old number on your bank account, and you’re hanging out for your next payday. So, come with me on a journey dear friends, and let’s tackle our debt and crappy savings habits together.
#1 Figure out what’s important
It’s incredibly easy to turn a blind eye to whatever is really happening in the potentially concerning world of your finances. As long as your card doesn’t decline at the bar, everything is fine, right? Um, no. If you want to get your shit together financially, you need to take stock of everything and figure out what is important to you. Do you want to just keep plodding along, or do you want to start saving or paying off your debt?
“There’s no point having financial goals if you’re not really connected to and empowered by them, because you’ll lose motivation quickly,” says Canna. “Sit down and think about what will make you feel good about your financial situation, what will relieve the pressure, what will make you feel proud, what will make you feel in control of your finances?”
#2 Nothing but the truth
Alright, now that you’ve thought about what you want, it’s time to take a look at the cold hard reality of your situation. Open those letters from the bank, check your accounts, and see where you’re at. Go through your bank statements with a highlighter or an Excel spreadsheet and find out where most of your money is going – important life expenses or festival tickets? Rent or burgers?
“Take stock of your financial situation to see where you are standing,” Canna advises. “That involves adding up all your debts, who you owe, what your living expenses are, doing a budget, and then working out what goals you are actually capable of achieving.”
#3 Put it down on paper
Yup, seriously. Don’t just write it into a Word document or add it to your iPhone notes to remember (or forget) later. Come up with a goal or two, and write them down using a pen and paper. “I think putting pen to paper is more powerful, it makes it more real and the physical act implants it into your psyche,” explains Canna.
Cana says that the best way to create realistic goals for yourself is to get specific with a defined deadline. Want to pay off your credit card? Write down something like ‘Pay off $3,000 by July.’ Need to save up for an overseas trip or gearing up to put down a house deposit? ‘Save $6,500 by October.’ Write it down, and stick it on the wall or fridge or somewhere that you’ll see every day.
#4 Be realistic
Okay, so don’t just write down ‘Save $5,000 in the next two months’ if you are on minimum wage. If you have a goal in mind, make sure it’s realistic compared to how much you earn and what your outgoings are for important life things like rent and bills.
“If it’s not achievable, that doesn’t mean you give up on it completely; it means you need to twist and tweak those goals,” explains Canna. “So you might look at your budget and lifestyle; you might not be able to pay it off a debt in one year, but maybe you can over two years.”
#5 Game on
Now that you’ve taken stock of your finances and have a few goals in mind, it’s time to make an action plan. What are you going to cut out to save your cashola or pay off your debts? Is there somewhere you could be spending less money already? Do you really need to get UberEats five nights a week? How many dresses is too many dresses? Could you share your Netflix subscription with a mate?
“It’s important at this stage to figure out what’s achievable, and what you don’t really need in your life,” says Canna. “It’s time to put your plan into action and be proactive. Try to come up with new ideas to manifest more money or increase your savings, and get creative.”
Chloe Papas is a journalist and writer based in Victoria. You can find her on Twitter @chloepapas
Lead image: Sugar Mamma TV / Instagram