Once you set your sights on the new year, one of the goals you can aim for is to look for ways to help you improve money habits. In doing so, you improve your chances as well of sticking to your goals as well as increasing your chances of weathering emergencies that could come your way. The challenging part in this endeavor is that you are looking at habits that take time to materialize.
Habits take quite a while to stick to your routine but this should not deter you from pursuing those that can improve your way of life. Take it as a challenge and part of your goals for the year. Habits take time but you can start small and focus on the act of repetitively doing it to help you get used to it. The more you work on it, the easier it will be in the future.
You might already start to second-guess your ability when you are looking to improve money habits because of all the work involved. The idea is to start small and work your way up much like how you do it with other aspects of your life. If one of your new year’s resolutions is to improve your health, you do not go cold turkey live the life of an extreme athlete.
You start with small changes such as a quick run in the morning or controlling what you eat for dinner. This is important as NYPost shares that Americans spend an average of $70,000 on delivery and takeout in their lifetime. Once you get used to this, you start to take long runs and begin to monitor your food intake. Later on, you will notice that your body is craving for exercise and that you are more aware of what you eat. The same thing with your finances where you need to take things one step at a time. Here are a few things you can start with.
Increase the amount you put into your savings
One of the best ways to help you improve money habits is to increase the amount you put into your savings account. This can be for your retirement years or even for emergency situations and the idea is to start small and focus on the habit. In order for you to accomplish this, you need to rely on a comprehensive household budget, to begin with.
Your budget will show you areas in your finances you can make adjustments to help you put a little more on your savings each month. This means that you need to work on your budget to make this idea work. If you don’t, you could be taking out and moving funds around without knowing that you are putting some payments in danger.
Once you have your budget set, it can help you make this step a little easier if you can automate the process. This way, you do not have to think about it every month. You just set things up once at the very beginning and maybe make some tweaks along the way. This way, you will not be tempted to even use the money for your wants because it gets transferred to another account before you even see it.
Shave off expenses
If you are able to identify expense items you can cut down on, this can help you improve money habits tremendously. For one, the end result of cutting down costs gives you more elbow room for your finances. It can help you put more into your savings, help you get that house you want, or even pay for the one you have now at a faster rate.
If you are able to lower down some of your expenses at home, it can help you pay off debt as well. This is a big help especially for the ones which has a high-interest rate as your credit cards. Paying monthly can be a lifesaver but fees, penalties, and interest payments make you pay more in the end. This is why it makes a lot of sense to pay everything off as soon as you can.
It is tough to lower expenses but one of the ways to go about it is taking on a frugal lifestyle. This is where you find ways to live below your budget and save money in the process. It can be using a bike to get to work to save money where you get a decent amount of exercise as well. You might also choose to cook your food home more to help lower down the need to buy take out for the whole family.
Learn a new skill or improve an existing one
There is no question that if you are able to increase your income, it is a lot easier to improve money habits. If you want to strengthen your emergency fund, having more income at the end of the month can help you reach this goal. You can also have an easier time paying down or even paying off some of your debt accounts completely.
However, this is easier said than done but one of the best ways to do it is to focus on your skill. For the new year, make time learning a new skill which can be something you love to do or connected with the industry you are in. You can also focus on existing hobbies and find a way to turn that into an income-positive venture.
If you love taking photos, you can start submitting your work to websites that sells stock photos. You can also offer your services to businesses around you for events or sports events. If you love reading books, why not start buying and selling books where you give reviews of each one you read. This can entice people to buy more and you can even create an online community bonded over their fondness for books.
Look for a side hustle
As mentioned earlier, one of the ways to help you improve money habits is to increase the amount of funds coming in every month. Most people would look for a way to get a pay increase at work and that is admirable. It only means that they could be getting a promotion which speaks volumes on the type of hard work they put in at work.
Having an income-positive hobby can also help you earn extra money while doing something you already love to do. For some people, this is a luxury they do not have with their day job and it also becomes an outlet for them. Just make sure that you find time to look at the papers and documents you need in case it starts to bring in big money.
These hobbies can be considered as a side hustle but they should not confine you within jobs you want. There is work outside that bubble and you just need to roll up your sleeves and get to work. You can babysit, housesit, or even take care of pets for a little money on the side. It is also possible to get online work so you do not have to get out of the house for it. Look for the job that suits your schedule and lifestyle so you do not have trouble adjusting your whole schedule from the ground up. This is not so uncommon as CNBC shares that about 3 in every 10 workers take on a side hustle.
The new year gives you the chance to improve money habits but this is not a walk in the park and you need to get down to work. You have the whole year to make it happen and there is no better time to do it than the present.