We all know the typical New Year’s Resolutions that people talk about every January: Exercise more, travel more, or become more engaged in a local organization. One great way to make all of these resolutions possible is to save more money, which will give you the flexibility to pursue your goals.
Whether you’ve decided to take a trip to Thailand or join a gym, these five ways to save money can help cover the costs, eliminate the excuses and put more cash into your accounts.
1. Take Time To Evaluate Your Current Situation And How You Can Save More Money.
It sounds basic, but you can’t improve your finances if you don’t know what they look like now. Look at your statements from the previous year — how much did you spend on food? Rent? Entertainment? Are there easy places where you can make cuts?
In order to keep our spending in check, we can use a simple budget. That budget is broken down into two types of expenses: fixed and variable expenses. A fixed expense is one that is predetermined, such as a loan payment or rent. A variable expense includes things like my restaurant spending, which can change based on my actions.
Jot down how much you expect to spend on major expenses, then track the difference between what you expected and what you did. Many banks have online features that can help you with this, but you can also make a spreadsheet for free.
2. Be Willing To Talk About Finances With Your Partner.
If you intend to share your financial situation with someone else, it’s important that you talk about money on a regular, continual basis. That can be a scary thing, especially if one of you has struggled in the past — or is struggling now.
You should start the conversation as slowly and calmly as possible. Don’t just spring a money conversation on your partner. Instead, let them know a few days in advance that you’d like to sit down and discuss finances. Then, when the day comes, ask them about their financial story — give context to their current situation. Asking about how student loans helped them get a degree can be easier than bluntly asking whether they have a bunch of debt.
You shouldn’t be satisfied with a single sit-down. Make your finances a long-term conversation, so that neither of you is surprised by the other.
3. Avoid Bitcoin And Other High-Risk Options.
Focus is one of those basic-but-critical, habits you need to master if you want to be successful. Improve your focus on the day-to-day basic business activities you do best, and from which you produce extraordinary results. If you don’t, you’ll create higher stress levels and may experience burnout. When you spend most of your time and energy doing the business tasks you’re brilliant at and allow others (like employees or subcontractors) to do the rest, you reap the biggest rewards.
For example, don’t try building a website unless you’re a webmaster, and don’t try learning technical skills if that isn’t the best use of your time. Outsource those things instead, and focus on running your business so it can grow and prosper.
4. Create A Travel Fund.
Anyone who plans on taking a vacation should think ahead and set aside money well in advance. Don’t just budget for plane tickets or hotels, but also for the experiences or expenses you expect to need.
5. Create An Emergency Fund.
The government shutdown highlights something we all should know, but rarely think about — much of life is simply out of our control. We can’t predict everything that is going to happen, but we can do our best to prepare financially for whatever comes our way.
- It should be able to last you three to six months
- It should be liquid — that is, available at a moment’s notice
- It should only be touched for emergencies