Make this year the best year yet for your bank balance
By Katrina Caruso
We may be one week into the new year, but it’s not too late to make financial resolutions for 2018. The right changes (big or small) to your spending or savings habits can go a long way towards improving your financial landscape. Here are a few suggestions to get started:
Why not combine two good things? Reading more finance books may not make you an expert overnight, but taking a page from the pros may help to revamp how you think about money. Here are three critically acclaimed finance books: Robert T. Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad (subtitled What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money—That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!), Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich, (a “six-week personal finance program”), and David Chilton’s The Wealthy Barber (subtitled The Common Sense Guide to Successful Financial Planning.
Budget, Budget, Budget
Give your budgeting tools an upgrade and find a method you’ll actually use. While some people love pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets (there are many free templates you can download for free online), apps such as Mint and YNAB are accessible, convenient, and useful for folks who don’t have it in them to keep track of every receipt.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Costs
Stop paying for things you’re not using, such as that unused gym membership or the weekly takeout. Review last month’s spending and identify where you can make changes. If you cut out one unnecessary spending habit (I’m looking at you, daily coffee run), it can make all the difference.
Prioritize Debt, Starting With Your Credit Cards
Switch to a lower-interest credit card or start a plan for aggressively paying off your debts. The task might seem daunting, but you can make it fun: give yourself a reward for every $250 you reduce your debt (or whatever amount seems significant yet achievable). That way, you have something to look forward to.
Find a Financial Buddy
Just as when making lifestyle or diet changes, it can be incredibly powerful to have someone by your side to motivate you and keep you accountable. Share tips and tricks and check in together frequently to stay on track.
Make Extra Money Doing Something You Enjoy
Welcome to the gig economy, in which freelance and contract work and temporary jobs jobs are being more and more commonplace and in which companies such as Uber, AirBnB, and TaskRabbit are thriving. (An online marketplace where people who need someone done can find someone to do it, TaskRabbit is slated to come to Canada soon.) If you want to make more money, look into ways that you can turn a profit on your passion projects or hobbies (for example, selling crafted goods on websites such as Etsy).