As 2022 draws to a close, it’s the perfect time to revisit your finances to ensure you have a solid start to the new year and are on track to achieve your financial goals.
For many of us, financial planning for the year ahead is something that’s tempting to leave on the back burner, especially when we’re in a festive mood. However, delaying it will make it more likely that you’ll fall into bad spending habits that can have long-term implications for your financial future.
Good financial management will save you time, money, and stress. It will help you to prioritize your expenditures, make informed decisions, and allocate resources more effectively.
Here are our 12 top financial resolutions to put you on track to financial health in 2023.
Start the new year with a realistic budget. Whether you prefer budgeting apps, spreadsheets, or paper and a pen, review your spending and put together a budget that works for you and your family. Remember, a budget doesn’t tell you where to spend. It’s a spending plan that you’re in charge of.
If you want to boost your savings and achieve financial freedom, you’ll need to get into a habit of not spending your entire paycheck every month. Your abovementioned budget will help in that regard because you’ll see where your money actually goes. However, you’ll also need to commit to saying “no” to some non-essential expenses if you want to see your savings grow. If you really enjoy watching movies, then cutting your cable isn’t necessarily the only option. What about packing a lunch every day instead of paying for it at your work canteen or a grocery store? Your aim shouldn’t be to cut out every little luxury, only those you can live without.
Arrange for a portion of your paycheck to be transferred from your checking account to your savings account when it comes in before you have the chance to spend it. This way, you’ll avoid the temptation to indulge in extra spending and stay on track.
According to the , about 40% of Americans couldn’t pay for a $400 emergency from savings. If you couldn’t afford an unexpected car repair, medical bill, or other financial emergencies without borrowing, consider setting a little money aside every month in an emergency fund for the future.
Your credit score is like your high school GPA for your credit cards and other loans. Make the minimum payment by the due date and keep your balances low to build a good credit score. You can check your credit report for free by law at annualcreditreport.com to find the details behind your personal credit score.
If you have any student loan balances, it’s a good idea to review your loans annually for opportunities to save through income-based repayment, student loan forgiveness, or loan refinancing. This should be a part of your larger debt payoff strategy if you have other loans or credit balances.
Financially responsible households often carry homeowners or renters insurance, auto insurance, health insurance, and life insurance, among other possible coverage types. Reviewing your coverage to make sure it’s still right for your family can help you save money or limit risk. If your rates have gone up, you can shop around for new insurance to see if you have opportunities to save.
If you plan on making any major purchases, it’s better to save ahead and pay in cash than borrow or incur credit card debt. When you borrow, you’ll be locked into monthly payments, interest, and fees related to a loan or carrying a credit card balance. When you save ahead, you could make money on your savings with interest and have better options when you’ve reached your savings goal.
When you’re shopping online, at the grocery store, or anywhere else, stay aware of prices and savings. Switching to a store brand could give you a nearly identical product for a much lower cost, for example. Skipping restaurants is another way to save big on regular spending. You may also be able to save by buying some items used. While a few dollars here and there may not seem like much, those savings can easily add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned.
The rising cost of energy can impact your wallet, but there are several easy ways to save on utility bills. First, let natural sunlight heat your home by opening your blinds – then close them once the sun goes down to trap the heat inside. Also, always use LED lights, which use less energy than older bulbs. Another trick is to ensure your heating vents are clear and that no curtains or furniture are blocking the flow of hot air. If you have a furnace, be sure to change your filters every month so that air remains clear and free-flowing.
Another thing to bear in mind is that appliances in your house that aren’t being used but are still plugged in, such as televisions and game consoles, still draw a small current. So, shut off all your switches when these items aren’t in use.
Improving your financial health can feel like a monumental task if you’re doing it alone. A financial advisor can be a great source of help. These professionals are legally and ethically required to make the best possible decisions for their clients. They can help you outline a wealth creation roadmap and plan for unforeseen events. They can also help with anything from navigating financial pitfalls and paying down debt to realizing your vision of a comfortable retirement.
Most of us have a default mode when planning a short break. We travel out on a Thursday or Friday and return on Sunday. But traveling a day later and returning on a Monday instead might be a better option as it can save you money. Hotels, flights, and train fares are usually more expensive over weekends. And depending on which destinations you have in mind and what you enjoy doing most, mixing things up could actually also work better for your sights, shows, and shopping plans as places will be less crowded.
2023 is a year to take advantage of a strong labor market that still has plenty of open jobs. If you have the time, finding additional employment is the easiest way to bring in extra income. For example, a bar shift that pays $100 could put an extra $800 in your pocket every month if you’re able to work two shifts a week. Other options that can bring in extra cash include dog walking, babysitting, and gardening.
Payactiv helps ordinary employed people who find themselves in a tight spot and in need of cash at short notice – while eliminating the need for them to borrow from high-cost lenders.
Our Earned Wage Access (EWA) service allows you to access the money you’ve already earned in several ways: Your funds can be loaded onto a debit or prepaid card, transferred to your bank account, or even picked up as cash at Walmart. With Payactiv’s EWA service, you can even use your earned wages to pay for Uber rides or Amazon purchases directly via an app on your Smartphone.
What’s more, we help foster financial wellness by putting you on a path to self-reliance when budgeting and managing your expenses with our budgeting, savings, and debt support tools – all in the Payactiv app.
Even if you’ve struggled with money in the past, a new year is a perfect time to make a change. January 1st is a great opportunity to drop bad habits and build good ones. From your credit score to your bank account, reviewing your finances and moving forward with good spending strategies can put your family in a position to thrive financially.
If you’re looking for help, learn more about how Payactiv can help you improve your finances for free.
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