New year, new you, same pang in the gut whenever you look at your bank statements. If you’re starting off 2022 with some ambitious resolutions (exercise more, eat better, learn how to make croissants), consider also factoring in some financial goals. Identifying financial goals is a great way to kickstart the journey towards achieving them, and if known for anything, New Years is a great way to start fresh and start achieving. So, if improving your finances is somewhere on your 2022 Resolutions list, cast your eye to our 5 helpful tips to get your dollars dancing.
Unsurprisingly, the best way to reach goals is to make them clear cut. Ambiguous and unrealistic goals can do more to hinder the process than help, so make sure you set yourself something feasible. Try and stay away from loose goals like ‘save more’ and ‘watch my spending’. The vagueness of these opens them up to loopholes and workarounds, which ultimately set you back. Instead, phrase your goals in tangible terms e.g. ‘I want to pay off my credit card balance in full, on time every month’.
Budgets can be scary, riddled with guilt if you overspend and reckless joy if you come in under. But their true purpose is much less sinister. Tracking your finances is a great way to identify areas where you struggle, and areas where saving money may be easier. It also provides visibility of all expenditure.
Start with a budget that aligns with something regular for you i.e. pay day. If you get paid monthly, set yourself a monthly budget and list all of your fixed payments first. Things like:
Once you can see where all your money has to go, you can then see what remains for flexible, non-fixed spending. Budgets aren’t about limitation, they’re about awareness.
The thought of saving almost instantly conjures up an image of a piggy bank, but this simplistic method may actually help with the bigger picture. With card payments steadily overhauling cash, a small way to save is to withdraw a comfortable sum and tuck it away. Maybe a pink piggy bank isn’t the rage anymore, but a small sealable bag or envelope can produce the same result.
It sounds like an outdated way to save, but forgotten money is saved money. This method can also be as minor or major as you want, and can change with each withdraw. If you’re comfortable putting away $100 one month, but only $20 the next, then it’s still $120 you’ve saved.
We’re all alive in the 21st century and what better way to make the most of it than using tiny little powerhouses that can help you save money. Apps and browser extensions represent some of the easiest ways to save money, and the ways they can help are unlimited. Apps like Raiz, which rounds up your payment to the nearest dollar, saving the spare change, and browser extensions like Honey, which automatically applies discounts to your purchases, are just some of the myriad of help available. You can also use apps like Mint, which creates your budget for you, and the Fuel Lock feature on the 7 Eleven app, which freezes cheaper petrol prices for up to a week.
Sometimes the hardest step in achieving financial goals is finding the time to commit to them. Every bit of progress helps with monetary goals, and these can be achieved in small increments. Books, podcasts and videos can be a great way to kickstart the process, and if you play your cards right, they can all be free. Be aware of your thinking and try and gear it towards a conscientious outlook on money, not in a stress-filled, paranoid way, but an understanding of where you are and where you want to be.
So, whether you’re ringing in the New Year from midnight onwards, or you view it as another average day of the week, make sure your financials are front and centre when we turn the page to 2022. Just like all other New Year’s resolutions, real financial progress happens when you’re committed, disciplined and consistent. Take setbacks into your stride and use them as opportunities to learn, and 2022 will your year for clinching.
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