The Top 10 Most Realistic Resolutions to Make to Improve Finances and Why
Saving money seems simple—in theory at least. When it comes down to actually scrimping and cutting down on unnecessary expenses, you realize it’s not really as simple as it seems. The idea of treating yourself seems more compelling than saving for a rainy day. The thought of setting aside a nest egg for retirement doesn’t seem very important when it feels like such a far-off concept.
That said, we wanted to round up some of the most realistic ways that you can save money so you can make a bigger push toward actually sticking to it.
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- Create and stick to a budget: A budget is essential for tracking your income and expenses and helps you stay on top of your finances. Be sure to track your spending, set a realistic budget for yourself, and don’t scrimp too much and make yourself feel like you’re completely depriving yourself. Avoid impulse purchases – Impulse purchases can quickly add up, so try to stick to the items you need and be sure to track them. When possible, use cash instead of credit cards to make purchases. This will make it easier to stick to your budget. And try setting up automatic savings can help ensure that you are putting away money for your future.
- Pay off debt: Paying off debt can free up cash for other priorities and reduce stress. The best way to start paying off debt is to create a budget, track your spending, and make an effort to pay more than the minimum payment each month. It’s also important to prioritize payments on high-interest debts to pay them off faster. Finally, consider developing a debt repayment plan and using the snowball or avalanche methods to organize your payments.
- Track your spending: Knowing where your money is going is key to making smart financial decisions and staying on track with your budget. The best way to track your spending is to use a budgeting app. There are many budgeting apps available that can help you track your spending in real time. These apps allow you to input your income and expenses, set budgeting goals, and see how much you spend in each category. You can also set up reminders to help you stay on track with your spending.
- Save for retirement: When done early, retirement savings can grow exponentially over time, helping you enjoy a more secure financial future. Start as early as possible and try set up an automatic contribution plan with each paycheck. This will ensure that you are consistently contributing money to your retirement account and working towards your financial goals. Consider consulting a financial advisor to help you create a retirement plan tailored to your needs.
- Cut unnecessary expenses: Look for ways to cut back on things you don’t need, such as meals out or expensive cable packages.
- Increase your income: Consider getting a second job or starting a side hustle to bring in more money. This could include taking on a part-time job, starting a side hustle, or monetizing a hobby or skill. Additionally, you could look for ways to increase your current income, such as negotiating a pay raise or promotion at your current job or asking for freelance or contract work.
- Establish an emergency fund: Setting aside money in case of an unexpected expense or job loss can give you peace of mind. Try to set aside a small amount of money each month. This could be as little as $25 or $50. Automating the process with a direct deposit from your paycheck is a great way to make sure you’re saving for a rainy day. You can also set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a savings account. Once you have a few months of savings built up, you can start increasing the amount you’re putting away.