With only a few days left in 2016, a lot of us are thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions, and a lot of us have our finances in mind.
I’ve reviewed my resolutions from last year. I had three: Increase my movement, increase my income, and control my spending.
You know what? I hit one of them. Jon and I kept our spending in check compared to the previous year. And even that has loosened up in the last two months enough that I’ve decided to join Amanda’s No-Spend January over at Centsibly Rich.
The others? I ignored the Fitbit stats after a couple of months, and our income stayed pretty static. I’ve set new goals for this year: to live healthier, increase my financial health, improve the blog, and do good things. Lofty goals, for sure. I’ll be approaching them a bit differently this year, by setting weekly to-do lists that move each goal forward rather than a year-long plan.
As I’m setting new goals, I’m looking for the best information to help me meet them.
Maybe you are too.
So as I researched the best ways of filling my goals, I put together another resource list of awesome blog posts that can help you meet some of the most common financial New Year’s resolutions.
Want to improve your credit? Pay down debt? Invest? Make more money?
My blog buddies and I have you covered.
First, it helps to think like a saver. Let Hannah from Eat, Drink and Save Money show you how.
Once you think like a saver, you can start putting some money aside. Latoya at Life and a Budget explains how to build just a bit of a cash buffer in your accounts, even if you don’t make much. And some games you can play with yourself to help you put back a little more.Need more suggestions on things you can cut from your budget? Hollie from Quirky Bohemian Momma shows you how to save money like an Extreme Cheapskate.
Freeing up cash works a lot better in tandem with a budget, and if you need to start one, Latoya can help. Not only will she give you the steps to setting up a budget, she also has a great budget spreadsheet template you can use. Need to figure out how to pay for periodic expenses like car maintenance? Jamie at Medium Sized Family shows you how to build a sinking fund.
If you’ve had a budget before, and just need to get started again, Cat at Frugal Rules will get you back on track. Holly at Club Thrifty can show you ways to stick to your budget. And Laurie at Fruclassity can show you what to do when you realize you’ve blown your budget.
Feel like maybe you spent more than you had over the holidays? Adrian over at Adrian’s Crazy Life will show you how to start planning for next Christmas.
Pay Down Debt/Improve Credit
Lots of folks want to pay down debt during the year. Eliminating your debts (or even just getting the balances down) frees up money for other things, like saving and investing. So start with the right mindset, by reading Hannah’s post on fitting debt repayment strategies to your temperament at Unplanned Finance. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to kick off your plan. Holly from Club Thrifty goes over 4 simple strategies for debt reduction you can follow, while Grayson of Debt Roundup discusses the merits of the debt snowball versus the debt avalanche method.
Debt repayment can be a long process, so Jamie at Medium Sized Family gives you hints for staying motivated. Latoya at Life and a Budget discusses how to balance saving and debt repayment. And Ruth at Fruclassity can help you realize that debt repayment can mean overcoming some personality flaws.
If you want to work on credit card debt, I’ll tell you what credit card mistakes to avoid. Holly from Club Thrifty talks about refinancing your credit cards to reduce your interest rate and pay off your loans faster.
If refinancing is part of your debt repayment plan, you probably should be checking your credit score. I like using Credit Karma to check mine and do on a regular basis. Not so good? Gary at Super Savings Tips breaks down the basics of how to improve your score.
Take Care of Your Family’s Future
Is getting your estate plan together on your to-do list this year? Money Crashers will walk you through the basics of estate planning.
Most people start their estate plans off with a will. Cat at Frugal Rules will show you why you need a will. I’ll give you a little inspiration for putting together a will, and show you an easy and inexpensive way to do it.
Next, you can move on to insurance. Gary at Super Savings Tips will convince you to get life insurance, no matter how old you are. Abigail at I Pick Up Pennies will tell you why you don’t want to buy Whole Life policies.
He can also teach you about revocable living trusts, and why you might need them.
Finally, if you have an estate plan already, I’ll show you how and when to review your plans.
If the stock market scares you, Tonya at Budget and the Beach can help get you over your fear of investing. Once you’ve done that, I’ll give you some inspiration to get started, and how to take the first steps. Jon at Be Net Worthy will convince you to stick to tax-deferred accounts, like your 401(k). Don’t have a 401(k) option at work? I’ll explain some other options.
Once you’ve made your decisions, Latoya at Life and a Budget helps you learn to free up some cash, whether for saving or investing. Left your retirement saving a little late? Mr. Groovy shows the way that even folks in their 50s can build retirement savings.
Now, it’s time to refine your portfolio. Start learning the fundamental rules of investing with this post from Femme Frugality. Then John from Frugal Rules will show you how to invest like a rich person (it’s not what you might think.)
Start a Side Business
First, get inspired! Lindsay at the Notorious D.E.B.T shows you why you need to think less about saving money and more about making it. Then she’ll show you how to get over the fear hurdle that might be stopping you from starting your new business.
Next, start thinking about what you might want to do. You can find 50 ideas for side hustles from Amber at Thrifty Guardian, which covers the basics. If you want to look further afield, Hollie from Quirky Bohemian Momma will show you how to turn artistic hobbies into a money-making business. And Amanda from Centsibly Rich not only goes over some of the side businesses she’s tried out, she also tells you how they’ve worked out.
Once you’ve determined what you want to do, this article from Femme Frugality shows you the first 5 steps to starting your side business.
Michelle at Making Sense of Cents gives you the lowdown about pretty much the whole side job shebang, including finding a work-life balance
Achieve Your Financial New Year’s Resolutions
If you have financial New Year’s Resolutions, there’s a whole world of bloggers that will help you along. I’ve mentioned just a few of the ones I read regularly. (And I apologize to all the great bloggers I’ve left out, and all the great articles.)
So go forth, achieve your goals, and have a great New Year!
Do you have financial New Year’s Resolutions on your list? Or stuff you think I should add?
*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich. *