Money is a huge source of stress for a lot of families and individuals today. A lot of people find themselves worrying about how they’re going to afford everything that they want and need each month. At the beginning of a new year, after an indulgent festive season, you might be struggling to get your finances back on track after over-spending.
The good news? The new year can be a perfect time for you to switch up your spending strategies and start making the most of your money.
If you’re ready to transform your financial habits this year, then the following steps will help you on your road to financial success and abundance:
Be More Aware of Where you Spend
If there’s one thing that we all need to practice more of in 2024, it’s mindfulness. In a world full of things like contactless and cloud payments, it’s so easy to forget that you’re spending money on little things every day. However, the price of a daily $5 coffee quickly adds up, as does the cost of your Netflix subscription, your fuel, and other little expenses.
When you start to pay attention to what you’re actually spending in your day-to-day life, you can take steps that will reduce the amount you over-spend by. For instance, you can:
- Shop around to find the best deal rather than automatically buying something when you see it in a store.
- Avoid impulse buying: If it’s not something that you’ve planned to buy, give yourself a couple of days to decide whether you really need it.
- Beware of sales: Don’t just buy something because it’s discounted. Make sure that you only take advantage of offers if you would have bought the product anyway.
Set a Budget
Budgets might be boring, but they work. If you can spend a little time at the beginning of this year working out what your current situation is, and looking for places where you can save money, then you could save a fortune in the long term.
Remember, your budget is likely to change as you move through 2024. There are months when you will need more cash in your discretionary spending budget than others. Additionally, you might find that things in your life change as time passes by. You could get another job or find yourself with another bill you need to deal with.
Every month sit down with your budget and make sure that your spending strategy still makes sense. If it doesn’t, make adjustments as you go.
Be Wise About Loans
Having a good financial strategy doesn’t have to mean avoiding loans and debt entirely. There are going to be times when you need to borrow money, perhaps for a new car, a new kitchen, or even an emergency expense. Rather than avoiding loans at all costs, just make sure that you’re savvy about what to borrow and when.
Take the time to lean about your credit score – and improve it if you can. At the same time, when you’re thinking about borrowing money, do your research into the kinds of loans and lenders that are most suitable to your situation. The more informed you are, the less likely it is that you’ll end up with a huge interest rate on a small loan. You could even set up automatic repayments for your loans once they’re established, which reduces your risk of encountering fees for late payments.
Set Goals and Use them to Motivate yourself
Finally, you don’t need to put huge amounts of cash away into a savings account each month to make a difference to your finances. If you really want to feel in control of your money during 2024, start by setting goals for what you hope to achieve. Getting into the habit of saving is much easier when you can visualize what you want to achieve in the future.
To start progressing towards your goal:
- Think about what you’d like to save and what you’d like to achieve. Set a schedule or time-frame for your goal so you can measure your progress as you go.
- Open a separate savings account: Make sure that your savings account is separate from your current account so you can actually move money away from you each month. If your cash isn’t in your current account, you’ll be less likely to spend it.
- Reward yourself: When you hit little milestones in the pursuit of your goals – reward yourself. You’ll have a much easier time staying motivated this way.
Want more financial guidance? Read More:
- 5 Apps That’ll Help You (Gulp) Monitor Your Credit Score
- 4 Biggest Mistakes People Under 30 Make With Their Money
- Adulting 101: When You Might Need an Emergency Fund
*This post was originally posted in 2019 and updated on February 8th, 2024