No matter where you are, who you are or what your personal financial situation is, chances are you’d probably be alright with finishing 2016 with more in your pocket than you have right now. It’s easy to look at the results we want in life.
The tricky part is forming the plan to take us down that road.
- How much money did you spend in 2015?
- What did you spend that money on?
- How will your past affect your future?
That last one is a loaded question, but when you consider your history with your money, it’s a lot easier to focus on what you’re good at while trimming out the bad parts.
There are plenty of lists all over the place telling you how to spend your money in the year to come, but we believe that before you can do that, first you need to define the things that are going to cost you.
The Big Ticket Items
Middle of the Road
Day to Day Responsibilities
These things all cost money, but you won’t need to spend money on each one in 2016. Take a look at the list and estimate how much you’ll be spending on each one.
After that, the resolutions can begin.
1. DIY Renovations
Most of us aren’t expert plumbers, carpenters, electricians or, wait, most of us probably don’t even have a toolbox.
That’s ok. If you’re thinking of renovations, you can save a lot by doing some of the simpler work yourself. Putting up drywall, painting or even framing a room are activities that might take some time, but the money you’ll save will go a long way toward hiring someone to complete the finishing touches that everyone sees.
2. Cancel Your Cable
How much are you paying for cable every month? How much do you actually watch it? Entertainment utilities quickly add up, especially when you consider the amount of time we actually watch television.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m lost without the internet and Netflix, but that’s a lot cheaper than normal basic cable packages.
3. Set Monthly Savings Goals
Last week we talked about the advantages of automated savings plans. Boosting your savings account a little bit each month is a point of pride. Watching that account go up and knowing that it isn’t spoken for is a big mental boost when you’re trying to save money.
You can also automate bill payments online as well so you’re never guilty of missing a payment. Good thing you’re still paying for wifi!
4. Respect Your Credit Cards
There’s a lot of debate throughout the financial world about the right way and the wrong way to use credit cards.
One thing that’s for sure, is that paying your balance down quickly is good for your credit rating. Another way to respect your credit card while you’re saving money in 2016 is only using your card when you have the cash to pay anyway. With low rate cards you’ll have plenty of time to pay them down, but if you have a higher rate card then paying your bill immediately is a must.
What’s the secret to a financially healthy 2016? Well, usually you’re doing alright if you’re not thinking about your finances at all. By paying attention to your spending history and setting a few manageable New Year’s resolutions, there’s no reason why you can’t make this the year of your best budget yet.