The beginning of a new year is the ideal time to re-assess everything you have going on financially. We all spend to much in December, blow our diets, get completely side tracked. Now that we are in January it’s time to get back on track, set new goals and get the money equation working again.
Here is a post from CareerGirlDaily that is well worth checking in on throughout the year ahead.
Knowing and understanding your budget is crucial to being and feeling financially stable. Which is an amazing feeling! Finding ways to increase your income and decrease your debt will allow you to feel that financial freedom. Answering the following questions can also help you prepare for large expenses such as buying a house or a new car.
1. What is my monthly budget?
If you don’t currently live by a monthly budget, you should. A good way to figure out what you should be spending each day is to use an app like Daily Budget, you can input regular income and expenses, saving goals and daily spends like coffee and it’ll tell you how much you have to live on. It’s great to stick to a budget.
2. How much debt do I have and how can I decrease the amount?
From student loans to credit card bills, put a number on your debt and try to factor in a way to repay it bit by bit. Forgetting about debts or putting them off until later can be dangerous, as some debts only grow the longer you leave them.
3. What is my credit score and how can I improve it?
There are lots of ways to check your credit score online, make sure you’re using a reputable website and don’t be afraid to get a couple of opinions. Your credit score is important, a good credit score gets you good insurance, interest rates, mortgage and renting deals and is important when applying for a credit card. So there’s always time to look into it.
4. Do I have at least three month’s worth of expenses in my savings account?
For most of us, the answer is no. Now is the time to collect that buffer, if something happens, an unexpected expense pops up or you need cash quickly, this will save you getting a loan. Don’t worry, though, you can easily save with the 50-20-30 rule.
5. What are some poor money habits I can get rid of?
We all have them, spending as soon as we get our paycheck, buying things we’ve only just seen as opposed to something we’ve wanted for a long time. Treating yourself is only natural, we all like a treat from time to time, but there are always areas of improvement. If you’ve found your account running on empty more often than not, perhaps you need to keep a closer eye on your account every week.
6. What do I want to save for in the coming year?
Plan a savings goal, a pair of Chloe boots, a trip, but plan to save a little more than is needed. Whether it’s something sensible like your own place or something spontaneous like a summer holiday, be careful and be frugal.
7. How can I increase my income?
Ok, so this might be a tough one. Is it time to ask for a raise? Do you have to work extra hard on your own business to make more money? Or is it time for a career change? If you want to increase your income, this could be the time to have the conversation with your manager.
8. Where do I want to be in one year’s time?
By December 2017 you’ll be in a position to evaluate your finances all over again, so what questions do you want to be asking yourself then? What do you want to have in your account, do you want to be the queen of savings? Do you want to have finally paid off your debts? New Year’s Resolutions are important, but don’t forget to set a money goal, too!
Answering these questions should ignite your critical thinking and get you on the right track to financial stability. Are these the only questions you should ask yourself? Absolutely not! However, it is a great start.
Most people think you need to have a high income in order to do fantastic things (like travel), own property, have options in life.
I’ve known many high earners who fritter everything away, and many lower income peeps who own lots of properties and every year do great things.
I believe the key is to have concrete goals and have them written down, and then to be very clever with your money. It is essential to know how much money you have coming in, exactly what your debt burden is, and to have a very specific budget that you stick to fastidiously. For me the budget is easy to stick to when I have a concrete goal that I am working towards. Without that carrot on a stick I tend to fall off the budget or at least get side tracked.
Today I am reworking all of the above. The goals for the year ahead, the debt burden and the budget. One of the easier ways to format your money plan for 2017 is to use the 50-20-30 rule. I found a fantastic post about it on CareerGirlDaily.com I’m re-posting it here today.
With the 50/20/30 method you will be able to budget your money. Whether you’re in college, have a full time job or have just started to earn money: the great thing about this rule is that it applies to every budget and helps you gain control of your money.
50 – “Your needs”
First and foremost about 50% of your paycheck goes to the essential things you need in your life. Your “needs” are things like your rent, your car, your public transport card, utilities and groceries. These are payments that don’t vary much and things you know you have to pay every single month, whether you want to or not.
20 – “Your savings”
This one sounds hard but 20% of your income each month should go directly into savings. The money you save will be beneficial for your retirement contributions or to pay off debts you might have like college or car loans. Put the money in a different bank account, so you don’t even think about spending it on anything else.
30 – “Your wants”
Now for the fun part! 30% of your monthly payment can be used for the things you love to do and the things you “want” in your life. As long as you’ve taken care of the first two steps, this one is completely up to you. You can spend it on your hobbies, eating out, shopping or your monthly Netflix subscription. It can be tempting to spend more than 30% on your “wants” but try to honest and strict with yourself and don’t even start to cheat.