Money & Banking
4 money-saving resolutions you should make this year
Could this be the year you get your finances in order? A savings plan doesn’t need to be overwhelming, try these seven tips that Patty Cathey, financial advisor at Smart Retirement Plan uses with her clients to keep them on track.
1. Track your spending
Some financial mishaps happen simply because we aren’t paying close enough attention to our spending habits. Once you have taken an inventory of your finances, watch your spending for unnecessary expenses. “Take out the magnifying glass and take notice of the details in your financial picture,” Cathey advises. “Comb through your credit card statements to see if there’s any unnecessary spending or charges. Are you paying for a gym membership or cable channels you don’t use? Is there a charge you didn’t make that could be fraud? Paying attention to the little things can make a big difference in your finances.”
2. Start small
When the New Year rolls around, the temptation is to make extreme financial resolutions all at once. But don’t get so caught up in your resolutions that you set yourself up for failure. Cathey advises her clients to make small changes to their spending, since they are more maintainable over time. “Taking a baby step in cutting your spending can start you on the path to even bigger savings,” Cathey encourages. “For example, instead of cutting out your morning coffee completely, cut out one cup per week in January. Same thing goes for bringing a lunch to work: try packing a lunch one day. You may find it’s easier than you realise.” By February you may be skipping two lattés and bringing your lunch twice a week.
3. Wait before you swipe
Make a new habit of waiting before you spend on an unplanned purchase. Did you spot a piece of house decor at Target during a nappy run? Take time to think about the purchase before you swipe your credit card. “Apply the 48-hour rule by giving yourself a mandatory waiting period before making a big purchase,” Cathey says. “Many times, you’ll forget about the item you so desperately wanted when you’re in the store. If you still want or think you need it after 48 hours, talk over the purchase with a spouse or loved one.”
4. Pay yourself first
Even if you mean well, life can get in the way of prioritising saving for emergencies or getting ready for your retirement. David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, encourages individuals with big financial goals to start by making their savings automatic each time they get paid. “Adding a small amount to your savings is pain free and pays off in the long run” he says. Then, utilise online banking tools to efficiently distribute money into different accounts including: retirement, emergency and mortgage payments, credit card, and other recurring bills.
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