“I want to eat healthier.”
“I’m going to exercise more.”
“I want to spend more time with my family this year.”
New Year’s resolutions often revolve around physical health and close relationships. But have you thought about your finances?
According to a study done in 2018, money issues generate more stress for the average American than work or personal relationships. And after two years of a global pandemic, cumulative American household debt has reached $14.6 trillion. But you don’t have to be part of these gloomy statistics! The tips below can help you make 2022 your best financial year yet.
1. Lose the unnecessary extras.
Take a few weeks and track where your money is going. (You can do this with apps like Mint or Goodbudget.) Do you see any patterns? What qualifies as unnecessary spending, and what can you do to fix it? Below are some common unnecessary expenses that really build up over time:
- Subscriptions you don’t use regularly (How many TV subscriptions do you have?)
- Coffee and fast food (Can you meal prep and/or make your coffee at home?)
- Pricey bills and insurance (Is there a better cell phone plan or insurance policy?)
2. Set a budget and stick to it.
Apps like Goodbudget and Mint are great tools for creating a budget, but they aren’t required! Even if your budget starts out as simply planning for bills, groceries, and savings, that’s a great place to start. Limiting your entertainment and restaurant spending to only a certain amount per month can make a big difference as well. Design a budget that is reasonable for your lifestyle and easy to follow, and you’ll be able to stick to it.
3. Get creative with your income.
Need more money per month? Start a side hustle! You don’t have to be an expert entrepreneur to utilize your skills and hobbies for extra income.
- Sell art and other creations on Etsy
- Offer landscaping/yard work to neighbors or local businesses
- Take up house cleaning
If you’re short on time, you might be able to crush some debt by selling your unused items on eBay or holding a yard sale. Assorted items like treadmills, bridesmaid dresses, or extra furniture typically fetch a good price.
4. Start thinking about retirement.
Saving for retirement can be an extremely daunting topic, but don’t let that scare you off! If you’re an employee, start by talking to your employer or HR department about 401(k) plans. Ask about company match options to make sure you’re getting the maximum benefit possible. If you’re self-employed or if your company doesn’t offer a contribution plan, traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are good options because of their tax benefits. You can read more about these and a variety of other retirement plan options here.
5. Talk to an expert.
Knowledge is power! Get in touch with a financial planner, read books about budgeting and investing, or make an appointment at your personal bank. You’re more likely to meet your financial goals with the help of an expert.
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