New year, new me! Right? Or in my case: New year, new blog! This is going to be my first post on this site. So, hello, there! 🙂
As we turn the page and say hi to the new year, it’s a great time to reflect on our goals, financial and otherwise, and make plans for the future. I decided to start this blog focused entirely on Personal Finance, not as a professional (because I’m not one), but as a woman who’s always been ambitious and money-driven, so I can both improve my own financial literacy, and help others do the same.
So, the start of a new year is an opportunity to make changes and improvements in our lives, and our personal finances are no exception.
Whether you’re looking to save more money, pay off debt, or even start your own online business, setting financial goals and creating a plan to achieve them can be a powerful way to improve your financial situation. In this post we’ll take a look at some simple steps that you can take right away to improve your personal finances in 2023. So, let’s get started!
Assess Your Current Financial Situation
Assessing your current financial situation is the first step in creating a plan to improve your finances. To start, you should take a look at your income, expenses, debt, and savings, so you can identify areas to make any necessary changes and improvements.
- Review your income: Take a look at your paycheck, any other sources of income, and any bonuses or commissions you may receive. This will make very clear how much money you have coming in each month.
- Analyze your expenses: Make a list of all your monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, and other bills. It’s also important to factor in any irregular expenses, such as car repairs or medical bills.
- Take stock of your debt: Write down any outstanding loans (including student loans) or credit card balances you have. It’s important to know the total amount of debt you owe and the interest rates you’re paying.
- Check your savings: Take a look at your savings accounts, including any emergency funds, retirement accounts, and other long-term savings. This will give you an idea of how much money you have set aside for the future.
By taking the time to review your income, expenses, debt, and savings, you’ll be able to see a clear picture of your current financial situation. This will help you identify areas where you can make improvements, such as cutting expenses or looking for ways to increase your income. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your finances on a regular basis, I’d say about once a month, so you can see how your situation changes over time.
Set Your Financial Goals
Setting financial goals is also key for improving your finances. It’s important to make sure your goals are specific, measurable and achievable.
When setting financial goals, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve. Some examples of financial goals are:
- Saving more money
- Paying off debt
- Increasing your income
- Investing in the stock market
To begin with, you can create a list of your financial goals. It’s important to make sure that they are specific. For example, instead of saying “I want to save more money”, you can say “I want to save $500 every month”. This way you know exactly what you want to achieve.
It’s also important to make sure your goals are measurable. This means you can track your progress and know when you have reached your goal. For example, “I want to pay off my credit card debt” is not measurable, but “I want to pay off my credit card debt of $3000 in 6 months” is measurable.
Your goals should also be achievable. It’s important to set realistic goals that you can actually achieve. For example, “I want to save $10,000 in one month” may not be achievable, but “I want to save $10,000 in one year” is more realistic.
In my case, for example, I want to have 100 views on this blog within the first month once I start sharing it on social media. Then, I aim to make $10 with it in ad revenue within the first three months. As of right now, as I write this, I haven’t even set up an account to display ads on my blog, but I may have by the time you’re reading this. So, I believe this is a pretty achievable goal, don’t you think?
Once you have your goals set, it’s important to create a plan on how to achieve them. This may include increasing your income, cutting expenses, or automating your savings. It’s also important to have a plan in place for what you will do if you encounter any obstacles or setbacks.
Create A Budget
Creating a budget is one of the most effective ways to achieve your financial goals. A budget helps you keep track of your expenses and make sure you’re saving enough money to reach your goals.
For starters, you can make a list of all your income and expenses. This includes your salary, any bonuses, or any other sources of income. Expenses include things like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, subscriptions (Spotify, Netflix, etc.), and other bills.
Once you have a list of your income and expenses, you can start creating your budget. The goal is to make sure your expenses don’t exceed your income. This means you should try to spend less than you make.
It’s important to be realistic when creating your budget, meaning you should take into account any irregular expenses, like car repairs or medical bills. It’s also important to set aside some money for savings and emergencies.
There are many budgeting apps and tools available to help you create a budget that works for you. Some popular budgeting apps include Mint, You Need a Budget (YNAB), and PocketGuard. These apps can help you track your expenses, create a budget, and see where your money is going.
Keep in mind that creating a budget is not a one-time thing. It’s important to regularly review your budget and make any necessary adjustments. If you find that you’re not sticking to your budget, you may need to cut expenses or think about how to increase your income.
Make A Plan
A good plan will be the blueprint of how you’re going to achieve your financial goals.
Once you have set your goals and created a budget, you can start crafting your plan. This may include steps such as increasing your income, cutting expenses, or automating your savings.
Some ways to increase your income could be asking for a raise, starting a side hustle, or selling items you no longer need. Cutting expenses can include finding ways to save money on your bills, like negotiating a lower rate for your cable or internet, or finding cheaper alternatives for things like entertainment or transportation.
Automating your savings is also a great way to reach your goals. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account, so you wouldn’t have to think about it. This way you can save both time and money without even noticing it.
It’s also important to have a plan in place for what you will do if you encounter any obstacles or setbacks. This means having a backup plan for unexpected expenses, like a car repair or a medical bill. It also means having a plan for when you can’t stick to your budget.
Making a plan and sticking to it is key to achieving your financial goals. It’s important to be flexible and make adjustments as necessary. Remember that your plan is like a living document and it should also be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure you’re still on track to reach your goals.
Staying motivated is essential if you want to achieve your financial goals. It can be a challenge, but there are many ways to stay motivated.
One way to stay motivated is by setting small goals, like the ones I mentioned above regarding my blog. When you reach small goals, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivation to keep going. For example, if your goal is to save $5000 in a year, you can set small goals to save $416.66 per month. By achieving these small goals, you’ll be closer to reaching your bigger goal.
Another way is by rewarding yourself for reaching milestones. Celebrate those little wins! This can be something small like treating yourself to a nice chocolate or something bigger like having a spa day. The important thing is that it’s something you look forward to and it helps you stay motivated.
It’s also important to remind yourself of why you set your financial goals in the first place. This can include things like being debt-free, having enough money for retirement, or being able to afford a home (my ultimate goal). These things should be your motivation to stay on track.
You should also try to surround yourself with positive influences. So, friends and family who support your goals, or a financial mentor who can offer guidance and advice.
Finally, don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, we may slip up and spend more than we should or miss a savings goal. We’ve all been there, so instead of beating yourself up about it, focus on what you can do to get back on track.
Set Your New Year’s Resolutions Today
So, to sum up, setting your New Year’s resolutions in regards to your finances is a great way to take control of your money and even maybe earn more than you usually do. Whether your goal is to save more, pay off debt, increase your income, or invest for the future, with a little planning and determination, you can make it happen.
So, let’s make this year the year you take charge of your finances and set yourself up for a brighter financial future!