A new year is a great time for a fresh start. Chances are you’re already thinking of things you can and should do to make this year different and better than the last. These slight changes can make a huge difference in your financial outlook and future.
Just say no…to impulse buys for yourself and your kids. You know the scenario, you’re walking the aisles of a big box store and you see something for only $5, so you toss it in your cart. Or you’re on the couch, scrolling shopping sites on your phone, and you click “Buy It Now” without even thinking. Stop. When you buy a “just $5” impulse item 20 times a month, you’re blowing $100 on things you don’t even need, things you might not even want. Try instituting a 72-hour rule for all purchases, instead. If you wait three days and you still need it, buy it. Chances are, though, after three days you won’t even remember wanting it.
The same is true for your children, but with kids it’s more important than just saving the money. You’re teaching them the attitude they should have toward spending. If you model to them that instant gratification and indulgence are normal and fine, you’re setting them up to have their own spending problems in the future.
On the same note…Live BENEATH your means (and save the rest). Living within your means is good and it’s definitely a start, but it guarantees you and your family a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. Live on less than you make and you’ll start building wealth and security.
Know where your money goes. Until you track your spending and budget for your expenses, you’ll keep hemorrhaging cash—and falling behind.
Don’t shop with credit cards. Paying with only cash or your debit card will keep you disciplined because it’s real money and it hurts to see it go. You’ll likely spend less than you would if you were shopping with a credit card, because you know you can’t just pay it off later.
Love the house and car you’re in. You don’t need to trade up just because you start making more money. The longer you drive a paid off car, the more money you’ll have in the bank. And if you can keep your house payment the same after you manage to land a raise, that’ll be more money you can set aside for the things you really want to do—like retire!
2019 can be your best financial year yet. It can be the year you finally get ahead and start building wealth. All it takes is a slight shift in how you think about money.