New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are awesome times to get on social media, confess your sins, devote yourself to a holy and righteous existence and avow to sin no more. Yet by the end of January, over half of people have given up on their resolutions, and by the end of the year less than 8% actually make it, according to the University of Scranton. A big reason for this is that when we make New Year’s resolutions, we focus too much on what we want the end goal to look like instead of improving our individual decisions, making better choices that lead toward that larger objective.
Here is a list of 4.5 things you can do, right now, to score some easy wins in improving your personal finances. Apart from these, if you are interested in a FREE one-month online course to improve your spending and saving, join the first annual Briggs Financial Spend Smarter Boot Camp RIGHT HERE!
With that said, here’s the list:
1. Got some credit cards you need to pay off? Start with the smallest credit card balance and work your way up the list. Every card you pay off can snowball it’s minimum monthly payment into the next card, and it always feels good to pay a card off. Start with an easy win and work your way to paying off the bigger balances as the smaller ones fall off.
2. Improve what you eat to improve your budget. Work on buying more food at the grocery store, shopping 1-2 times a week. Chop ingredients in advance and invest in some food storage containers to take lunches to work. Make coffee at home, not Starbucks. This will help you cut out fast food and convenience dining, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars a month. If you want suggestions for great coffee, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll espressopinions about a great cup for you.
3. Update your resume and work on improving your compensation in 2019. With the labor market at its most tight level in over a generation, take advantage of this to earn more. Learn and feature new skills to make yourself a more attractive candidate. Talk to your bosses and HR about advancement; if there are roadblocks, address them, or work hard to find a better gig. No one will advocate for you as hard as yourself. The squeaky wheel gets the promotion, so either be persistent or settle for a cost of living adjustment. Your choice.
4. Add a little extra contribution to your retirement savings at work. It’s easiest to save when the resources go immediately in without you having to take extra steps to invest. An extra $50 a paycheck or an additional 1% a year can make a big difference over a long period of time with compounding, while not being too much of a pain on the bank account.
4.5. Make sure if you can afford it to maximize those retirement contributions. Contribution limits are higher this year. The increased limit for individual retirement accounts in 2019 is a really big deal at $6,000 — up from $5,500 in 2018. For Roth IRA’s and Traditional IRA’s, that is an increase of over 9%. Also, in 2019 you will be able to save up to $19,000 in your 401(k), up from $18,500 in 2018.