The new year is a time for renewal. New Year’s Resolutions don’t always have to be about losing weight or making more money. This year, set a goal to create (and follow) and budget.
Start the year off knowing that you’re living within your means and setting yourself up for success. When you whittle down your debts and a plan for the future—for both retirement and unexpected life events—you’ll feel more comfortable splurging on that electric guitar or new puppy or whatever your heart fancies.
Have a partner? Get ‘em on board, too. It’s much easier to tackle finances together.
Before anything, commit to having a budget.
Set aside time each month to go through your monthly expenses. You don’t have to be overly-detailed. Just cover the high notes to ensure you’re accounting for your cash flow—where does money go as it comes in and out. Are you putting money toward debt, retirement, savings, bills? Do you have any left over for the Euro Trip jar?
The rule of thumb is 50 percent of budget goes to needs (bills, debt), 30 percent to wants (Euro Trip jar), 20 percent to savings (retirement, nest egg).
Let’s get started. Your To-Dos to setting your New Year’s Resolution Budget:
Find a method. From personal finance apps to excel to traditional pen and paper, find a method and stick to it for at least six months. Then, swap out for a new one if it’s not jiving. Some apps do a lot of heavy lifting for you, like importing real-time transactions and segmenting your spending habits.
Set it up with intention. If you’re calculating manually, include income from all sources (real estate rental income, frequent gifts, etc.) and all expenses from the past year. That way, you can track against a typical month’s cash flow.
Set goals. Realistically, how detailed do you want your budget to be? Do you want to aim to track every expense, or just most of them? Set a goal and hold yourself accountable.
Evaluate your progress. Take time each month to compare your expenses and income. Are you spending within your means? Do you need to make a couple of changes? Staying on top of your cash flow now is much easier than being in debt later.
Celebrate your successes. Are you paying down debt? Great! Saving more for retirement? Awesome! Take time to reward yourself for working toward your goals.
See? Piece of cake. Staying on track in the new year is easier than you thought.
Great news! The Pocketnest app is now available for iOS! Download Pocketnest and get your finances in order—in just 10 minutes a month! No jargony finance-speak, pricey fees or in-person meetings required. Download now!
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