The end of the year is a time of hope … we look forward to next year, often with the intentions of making it better than the last. It’s also a time of reflection, and for those in control of their finances (like all of us in the Money Under 30 community), it’s an opportunity to especially think about how we fared financially this year.
Did you slash some of your debt? Did you cut back on spending? Did you pick up a second job for extra income?
I hope everyone can pat themselves on the back for at least one great step this year. Whatever efforts you were able to make, cheers and congratulations.
While this year wraps up, we’re setting our sights with hope on next year — whether it be setting a career goal, getting out of debt, or simply staying on track with the great financial habits we’ve been developing until now.
My financial aspiration for next year is to put myself in the best position possible to begin paying off my student loans when I graduate in June. I’d love to hear about all of your goals in a comment, too.
As we ponder what we want to accomplish this year, we may start to sift through lots of articles about New Year’s resolutions and financial planning. It can be overwhelming, so I’ve done a bit of reading and picked out some of the best ones. I hope you’ll learn as much from this round-up as I did.
1. On setting financial goals: Do you find it hard to make your financial goals seem doable? In this article from Money Management International, we learn it’s important to be on the same page with your spouse. Then set short, mid, and long range goals.
Once you know what your goals are, you need to fund them. Figure out how much money you can set aside each month for your goals and start saving. You will probably have more goals than money. Prioritize your goals and start saving for the most important first.
2. On investing: As I’m still getting established, next year won’t likely be a big investing year for me. But if you’re in a position to start (or continue) investing, check out this article from MarketWatch about 7 big investment ideas for next year.
3. On cutting back: Can you cancel a service you didn’t really use in this year? Could you stop getting charged for ATM fees?
The year-end can be a good time to evaluate those little expenses that add up, as suggested in this article from USA Today. It offers 13 money-saving tips for next year, and they’re all quick and fairly simple. My favorite was tip No. 9. It says people could be getting reimbursed for more medical expenses if they’re using a flexible spending account … on average each individual loses $138 unnecessarily.
Try some of these USA Today tips, and start next year with an eye on ways you’re spending (or missing out on) money unnecessarily.
4. On making our goals stick: No New Year’s resolution is worthwhile if it doesn’t last —if you want some extra motivation check out stickK.com. On stickK.com you set your goal and then add your stakes. The stakes are dollar amounts charged automatically to your card if you don’t meet your weekly goal. You can send the money to a friend, to a charity, or even to an “anti-charity”. An anti-charity is a charity you hate. Imagine having to send $10 to a political campaign of a politician you hate every time you skipped the gym!
stickK says their research shows that people who put real money on the line are much more likely to stick with, and complete, their goals!
What are your goals for the upcoming year? Money Under 30 wants to help you get there. Let us know in the comments, and we’ll be sure to cover the topics that interest you the most.