5 Financial Fixes to Make Before the New YearBy Caitlin in Money
As we enter the final days of October, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the end of 2016 is on its way (something that a lot of us are probably trying to ignore). With holiday shopping heading your way, your financial health should be your number one priority. What better way to kick off the holiday season than to set a few goals, fix a few issues and create a plan to get your finances in order before January 1st.
5 Financial Fixes to Put into Motion before January 1st
The post-holiday haze of too much food, too much spending, and potentially too many parties is, to be perfectly honest, the perfect trifecta of failure. So this year we challenge you to set the tone early, this way when the ball drops you’ll already be two months into achieving your goals.
Actually Track Your Spending
We added the word actually there because we know that you either try to track your spending, tell yourself that you are tracking your spending, or at the very least have some sort of budgeting goal that’s always in the back of your mind but you never follow through with it (learn how to create a budget here).
We get it, tracking your spending is not fun, it takes times, and can really be quite eye opening in the worst kind of way. No one wants to come face to face with last month’s stress shopping. But, if you’re looking to make a real difference in the way you treat your hard earned money, then tracking your spending is probably the best thing you can do. Even if you think you have a handle on your spending and shopping, try tracking it for a week or two, we guarantee you’ll be surprised.
Furthermore, with the holidays just around the corner, tracking your spending is a great way to stay within budget.
Contribute More to Your Savings
The only thing better than waking up on the morning of January 1st without a hangover is waking up with a full savings account. Ok so maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but, starting off the New Year having already made a dent in your savings goal will be a great feeling.
Whatever your savings goal is, RRSP, TFSA, emergency fund, or even your vacation fund, start contributing more, even if it’s just ten extra dollars a week. Or you could consider cutting back on one unnecessary expense you have and then transfer the money you save into whatever account you’re looking to contribute more to (considering setting up automatic transfers? Read this).
Figure out how to go Credit Free for the Holidays
This one might be very hard to accomplish for the majority of Canadians as the holidays are a serious expense. And while it may be hard, the outcome will be so worth it. Starting off the New Year with thousands of dollars’ worth of credit card debt is enough to make anyone stressed out and unwilling to even think about money.
Here’s the thing, everyone’s holiday season is different, everyone spends a different amount of money, and everyone has a different number of people they want to purchase gifts for. This means figuring out how to go credit free this holiday season will greatly depend on you and your lifestyle.
Here are a few tips you should consider if you want to go credit free for the holidays and are looking for some help on how to get started.
- Planning will more than likely be the key to your success. Make a list of all the loved ones you want to purchase gifts for, set a budget and then get shopping.
- Start as early as possible as you’ll be able to spread out the spending over a couple of pay cheques instead of having to charge it all to your credit card in one day.
- Finally, consider speaking with your friends or family members about setting a budget, you might be surprised about how many of them are also trying to cut back this year.
Click here to read a FAQ on credit card debt.
Break 1 Bad Financial Habit
We know you have at least one bad financial habit that’s preventing you from achieving your savings goals or even keeping you in debt. Whatever it is, figure out a way to break it before the end of the year. This fix is pretty simple and it’s all up to you, so think about it and then devise a plan to kick the habit.
Buy one of Those Accordion File Folders
If all your paper work, documents, and bills are all over the place, then so will your finances. Furthermore, sometimes when you can actually see a difference with your eyes it becomes a little bit easier to keep going. If you get all your paperwork in order then when a financial issue or decision pops up you’ll be prepared to handle it, which should hopefully create a chain reaction. Feeling good about your finances will lead to better financial decisions which should lead to a healthier financial future. All in all, a simple purchase and may be an hour or two of organization could really help you get ahead of the game when it comes to your finances.
The best thing you can do for yourself and your finances is to actively participate in them, know how much you make, how much you spend, and how much save on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis. People who struggle with their finances typically have one thing in common; they ignore them and hope that everything will just work out. Don’t be one of these people; take control of your finances and you’ll likely start to see the changes and improvements you want to see.