Posted January 2018 by Melissa Abraham-Smith
We're helping make this the year you keep your financial resolutions
If your New Year's was anything like ours, it was full of fun, friends, and fireworks.
Chances are it was also full of those over-the-top New Year’s resolutions everyone loves to hate.
Based on their success rate, you can kinda see why: they rarely last the first day, week or - if you're lucky - month.
But not all New Year's resolutions are doomed to fail. In fact, they can be a great way to get you thinking proactively about your financial future.
Maybe you want to better prepare yourself for financial emergencies that may arise over the year ahead? Save for that next important purchase? Or get your budget in order?
Whatever the reason, now’s the perfect time to shake off last year's financial baggage and start a #NewYearNewYou financial resolution revolution!
Wow, try saying that five times fast.
Back on topic, and you're already well on your way without even realising it. You see, one of the biggest hurdles to achieving your resolutions is a lack of support, which is why we've come up with 3 resolutions we just know you can keep:
- Supplement your income and make a little extra cash.
- Cut down on spending and give yourself something to save for.
- Tackle those stubborn debts and live your life stress-free.
How can we be so confident? Because we're going to help you along the way!
The clock's a-ticking, so let's not waste any more time. Up first? Making more money...
1. Make a lot more (by doing a little extra)
You'd be hard-pressed to find a Kiwi who doesn't dream of the difference a few extra dollars could make.
But so long as your New Year's money-making wishlist doesn't include a lucky Saturday night Lotto win and a spare few million dollars, then you may be in luck:
That dream could become a reality.
Ok, so the process might be a little more involved than Shia LaBeouf is so enthusiastically suggesting.
But he does make a good point.
All it takes is commitment (and a few of our strategies) to 'just do it' and make those savings dreams come true.
A raise, promotion, or extra work hours are all common suggestions, but supplementing your income shouldn't rely on sacrificing your well-being. The new ‘Gig Economy’ and its celebration of red-bull fueled days and coffee-filled nights promotes unhealthy work practices, minimum wages, and maximum stress. Sure, you might make a little extra money, but will you be able to enjoy it?
We doubt it.
Instead, make the most of these opportunities:
- Turn your hobby into a money-maker
Are you a great hobbyist butcher, baker, or candle stick maker? You might laugh, but now more than ever niche online sites offer you the opportunity to make money from doing the things you love.
- Take up a side hustle
Whether it’s providing paid product reviews, filling out online forms, or completing surveys, there are countless side hustles out there that will fit your schedule, skill-set, and won't demand outrageous hours.
2. Commit to saving (and incentivise the process)
New Year’s resolutions are the textbook definition of over-promising and under-delivering.
Well, you might not find it in the dictionary, but it’s still true!
For example, how many times have you heard someone say this as the year drew to a close?
- ‘I’m going to lose weight and get in shape!'
- ‘I want to travel more!'
- ‘This is the year I find the perfect work / life balance!'
Resolutions like this sure do sound inspiring, but they're set up for failure.
Because they lack specific goals, milestones, or incentives which would help you keep sight of what it was you were trying to achieve in the first place.
Instead of letting your ideas remain just that - ideas - grab a pen, some paper, and start jotting down answers to these important questions:
- How much do you want to cut from your spending?
The way you save a single $1 differs wildly from how you save $100. It's the difference between cutting a single cup of coffee and giving your budget a once-over with a red pen. Work out how much you want to save, and you'll have a much easier time getting there.
- Why do you want to save more money?
The question of 'Why?' is just as important as 'How?'. Sure, you want to cut spending...but what will you get out of it? Extra money to put into a savings account or term investment, perhaps? Incentivise the process with a list of things you'll be able to achieve or afford by reaching your goals, and you'll be more likely to succeed.
As the year just gone should have taught you, you're running a 12-month long financial marathon, not a sprint, so treat it like one. Break up your goals into manageable chunks. Make plans and take action. Before you know it, you'll be well on your way to a year of kept resolutions.
3. Owe a little less (and cut down on the stress)
We’ve written in the past about easy ways you can tackle your debts, pay down your credit cards, and live a debt-free life.
Now more than ever, the New Year is your chance to take this advice to heart and take action.
To get the process started, you'll have to face up to your debts.
We know, it's difficult, but it's the only way you'll work out how much you need to pay, when you need to pay it, and the changes you need to make to reach your goal of living a life free from debt.
So grab out that pen and paper again, open the calculator app on your phone, and run the numbers:
- How much do you owe?
- Who do you owe it to?
- What are your monthly repayments?
- How much more can you afford to pay?
Once you know what you're working with, you can get a plan in place.
Instead of saying 'I'm going to pay off my debts', set yourself a reasonable target. Maybe you want to be rid of your credit card debts by year's end? Perhaps you'd just like to cut down on the paperwork and the payments you have to manage by consolidating them? Or you might want to have paid an extra 10% of your outstanding student loans?
It doesn't matter what your goal is. So long as you have one, you can work out exactly how much extra you'll need to save or how much more you'll need to make.
It's a good thing those were also on your list of financial resolutions, right?
What a coincidence!
There's never been a better time to secure your financial future
The success or failure of New Year's resolutions may be uncertain, but they're guaranteed to do one thing: get you thinking, talking, and taking action.
That's why they're the perfect excuse to finally start working towards the financial future you deserve.
By setting yourself some realistic goals, working out how you're going to achieve them, and then incentivising the process, you'll ensure that by this time next year you'll be able to give yourself, your wallet, and your bank account a pat on the back for a job well done and take pride in knowing you've made a change for the better.