2020 is almost here and you’re probably thinking about the financial resolutions you want to make, like saving more money or paying off your car. But sticking to those resolutions isn’t always easy. That’s why you need a plan. Here are a few, practical resolutions that you can achieve with simple preparation.
1. Curb Your Spending Habits
One of the best resolutions you can make is to cut back on your spending! Here are a few simple ways to help keep you on track.
Assess Your Spending
Start by writing down everything you spend money on each month, so you know where it’s going. You might be surprised by how much cash you’re spending each month on little things. Use your bank statements, receipts and bills to guide you as you make your list.
Create a Budget
Once you’ve jotted down all your expenses, you need to make a budget. Total up your expenses and subtract that from your income. It should equal zero or more. If it’s a negative number, you must trim your expenses so you aren’t in the red. Think about what you need and what you can live without. It may take a month or two to make your budget work for you, so be patient with it. A free budgeting app can help you plan your budget, track your spending, and monitor your progress every month.
Stop Eating Out
One of the easiest ways to blow your budget is to spend money on restaurants. If you’re spending $12 on lunch during work, five times week, that means you’re spending a whopping $240 just on sandwiches and salads! It’s fine to eat out once in a while, but if you want to save money you must cut back by making meals at home. A lot of overspending at restaurants stems from indecision over what to eat. You can help to change that by creating a meal plan for the week. Figure out exactly what you want to have for lunch and dinner each day in advance, then make a grocery list to buy the ingredients. Planning your meals will significantly reduce your overall food costs.
Stick to Shopping Goals
Overspending can happen to anyone, especially when you suddenly find yourself in a store with a big sale going on. To prevent yourself from impulse buying while you’re out shopping, keep an item list handy and stick to getting the essentials. Avoid stores that might trigger you to overspend.
2. Make a Plan to Pay Down Your Debt
Debt will prevent you from saving money for what you want or need. To commit to paying it down, start by organizing what you owe by the annual interest rate. Your plan of attack should be to pay off debts with the highest interest rates. High rates mean you’ll be bleeding more money before you can pay the principal. You may also be able to transfer high debt on a credit card to another card or other loan with lower interest charges.
3. Start a Side Hustle
If you’re looking to bring in some more income in 2020, consider a side hustle in your free time. There are hundreds of ways to make a few more bucks. Consider selling unwanted items in your home, taking paid surveys, selling crafts, or renting a spare room online. Try cutting out a couple of hours of streaming your favorite show and spend that time earning extra cash. For more recommendations on potential side hustles, do some research on the internet.
4. Update Your Calendar Regularly
This may seem like a very simple task, but you’d be amazed at how it can help you stay on track financially. First, mark all the due dates for your bills. Most bills are due on the same date each month. If you are using an electronic calendar you can set the date to recur as often as necessary. Next, take a look at all the upcoming events and put them on the calendar. Having the dates marked down will help you plan when you make your budget each month.