As Christmas approaches, many people are stressing about money and resolving to do better in the New Year. But why wait until the new year to improve your finances? You can make small steps every day from now until Christmas, to prepare for a successful 2015.
As the saying goes, luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. So prepare for the new year and get started with these 21 tips to overhaul your finances.
- Create a budget for the New Year. Start by looking at your projected income and your fixed expenses, to start planning your budget for 2015. Don’t forget about one-time expenses that can be easily overlooked, and be sure to budget for some fun money as well.
- Put an extra $20 towards your savings. This might not sound like a lot, but small amounts add up. It’s all about creating habits!
- Find one thing to sell in your home. Now is a great time to declutter, and sell extra items!
- Start side hustling. Don’t know what to do for a side hustle? Check out this list!
- Check your credit report. You can go to AnnualCreditReport.com and get your free credit report once a year.
- Have a no spend day. Practice not spending any money on certain days!
- Review your expenses. Determine what makes you feel awesome and what doesn’t. Any expense that is unnecessary (i.e. a want, not a need) that doesn’t make you feel great, resolve to nix it in the new year.
- Bring your lunch to work. Going out for lunch can be costly — resolve to cut down and bring your lunch to work.
- Write down your financial goals for 2015. Get them all down on paper and review them regularly!
- Write a Will. This is important as it determines what will happen to you and your assets, should anything happen to you. Make sure that your family has a copy, or knows where it is located.
- Create targeted savings accounts. Do this for all your savings goals and automate your savings. Capital One 360 allows you to create multiple savings accounts for all your needs. Personally, I have savings accounts for Emergency Fund, Travel, and Taxes.
- Pick stocks to invest in for 2015. Start researching what you want to invest in. Be sure to pick what’s best for you, not just what is trendy.
- Check your insurance policies. Is there anything missing? Renters insurance? Disability? Make sure your bases are covered!
- Find a fee-free bank. If you are getting hit hard with checking account fees, savings account fees, overdraft fees or more, look into a fee-free bank like Capital One 360.
- Get your paperwork ready for tax season. Compile your W2s, receipts, and any other paperwork that will help you prepare your taxes.
- Cut out or lower a bill such as cable, cell phone. Do you cringe at your cell phone or cable bill? If so, look into alternatives like Republic Wireless, Netflix or Hulu. Or you can also give your company a call, threaten to cancel, and haggle with them. Most of the time it works.
- Round up your payments towards debt to the next dollar. This will help pay off your debt faster. Remember, any small amount helps!
- Walk, bike or take the bus, instead of drive. This can lower your gas bill, help the environment, and get you moving.
- Sell your old CDs, DVDs, and books. Many bookstores and music stores will buy your used CDs, DVDs, and books, so declutter your shelf and make some extra money.
- Prepare your “I’d like a raise” speech. Asking for a raise, at the right time, with the right tools, is the easiest way to make more money.
- Remember, the best things in life are free. But it’s easier to enjoy those things once you have systems in place that help you succeed!
Use these 21 tips each day for the next three weeks to overhaul your finances and prepare for 2015. When the New Year arrives, you’ll be ready to go and in the mindset for financial success.
How are you preparing to make 2015 awesome?
Melanie Lockert is a freelance wordsmith, a passionate debt fighter, and frugal lovin’ minimalist who writes at DearDebt.com. She devotes 50% of her income to student loan debt and is often dreaming of her next adventure.