Most New Year's resolutions require a long year of commitment and discipline. But if your 2021 resolution is to save money or get out of debt, there are a few things you can do right now to ensure success throughout the rest of the year. These four moves will make it a lot easier for you to squash debt and get yourself on good financial footing.
- Create A Budget
If the first thing you do towards your financial goals in 2021 is set a budget, you'll be locked into the right path immediately. Sit down with your bank statements, credit card bills, and any other loan/debt accounts. Look at how you spent money in 2020 and make note of where you can make some changes to better fit your goals in 2021. Determine your hard expenses: bills, housing, food, etc. Once you have a good idea of your expenses, you can see how much money you have left over to put towards savings or paying down debts. If you can stick to this budget, meeting your financial goals should be almost effortless.
- Decrease One Expense
It's true that you can't do anything about some expenses like fixed payment loans and some utilities. However, you actually have a lot more control than you realize over some of your monthly costs. Pick one of these expenses and find ways to reduce it.
If you dine out often, make it a goal to cut this expense in half. If you have a top tier cable plan, switch to a streaming service instead. You do not have to go crazy and cut every single expense. If you can pick one to cut down on in January, you will save major money over the course of the year. Once you start looking, you may realize that you can cut costs in more than one place.
- Automate Savings
If you find yourself at the end of your pay period without any extra money to put towards your savings or to make additional payments on your debt, you should look into savings automation. Set up an automatic transfer into your savings account every paycheck or on a specific day every month. You can also set up automatic payments towards your loans or credit cards for a specific amount. This will help you stay consistent and will help you remove the temptation to overspend.
- Set a Debt Payoff Goal
Whether you are carrying debt into 2021 from holiday spending or due to financial troubles from the pandemic - make a plan to pay off your debt. Determine how much debt you have and set a realistic time frame for paying off that debt. Example: "I'd like to have x debt paid off by summer." Once you have your goal, curate a plan to make it happen. This might mean trimming your budget, finding additional employment, or consolidating your debt.
By undertaking these four simple tasks in January, you can set yourself up for a year of financial success. If you are carrying unmanageable debt into the New Year, Veitengruber Law can offer debt management solutions that go beyond these small steps.