I’ve never been one to limit myself to setting only New Year’s resolutions. Instead I set and reset my goals whenever I see fit. But I’m not going to lie – I love the fresh feeling of the New Year. I just can’t help but get excited about what the next twelve months will bring and what I’ve accomplished over the last twelve.
Over the past few years I’ve experimented with all kinds of financial goals. Some went well and some didn’t. What has surprised me though, is how impactful some of the small resolutions have been.
If you’re looking for big wins that come with a comparatively small amount of effort here are five powerful financial goals to work on this coming year.
# 1 – A Simple Financial Organization System
Time and time again I’ve witnessed the profound money saving effects of organization. For instance, have you ever thought that you had more money in your checking account than you actually did and overspent? Have every lost an insurance policy? Do you forget your online banking passwords? Are there receipts scattered all over your desk? Is tax a time the biggest pain in your you-know-what?
If so, I promise you, spending a couple hours coming up with an organization system plus twenty minutes each week maintaining it could completely transform your finances. (And I don’t say that lightly!)
Once you get organized you’re better able to budget your money, plan for the future and know what you have. Not to mention tax time becomes a total breeze.
To get started clear out a small filing cabinet or a large basket to use as your financial organization zone. Get a folder and put in it all things that you need to keep, such as insurance policies, retirement statements, etc. Toss out all other paid bills that you’re hanging onto for no reason. Get a separate folder or large envelope and use it to place any receipts or documents needed for your taxes.
As mail comes in place your bills in the basket. Immediately throw away junk mail or file any “need to keep” papers (which shouldn’t be many.) Then, once per week sit down, pay your bills and throw away/shred the paper statements. Also balance your checkbook and check any online accounts.
This system is SO simple but it is super effective when it comes to staying organized financially.
# 2 – Automatically Saving $20 Per Pay
When I got my first job my Grandma urged me to save $20 per paycheck. At the time that seemed like a huge amount to me and I refused. Now I really wish I would have!
If you’re not currently saving any money, sign up for an online savings account and have $20 per paycheck automatically deposited. (If you can save more, definitely do so!)
If you are already saving increase your contributions by at least $20 per paycheck.
# 3 – Increasing Retirement Contributions by 5%
If you’re like me you may have gotten a little bit of a late start saving for retirement. While not ideal, there’s no need to freak out about it. Do what you can to increase your contributions. For me this has been increasing the amount I contribute by at least 5% per year and exploring other ways to fund retirement.
# 4 – Read 4 New Personal Finance Books This Year
When it comes to building wealth it can be easy to lose motivation. I’ve found that reading new personal finance books at least quarterly gives me new ideas and keeps me motivated to work on my goals.
Since reading more is also one of the top New Year’s resolutions this could help you kill two birds with one stone.
# 5 – Start a Side Hustle
One of the most beneficial things I’ve ever accidentally done for my finances was to start a side hustle. About four years ago I decided to look for ways to earn money from home to supplement my income. After a year I was able to turn that side hustle into a full-blown job and now earn almost triple of what I did before.
The beauty of a side hustle is that it doesn’t have to take up a ton of time and you get to pick it. Start thinking ideas and commit 5-10 hours per week to giving it a go.
These five financial New Year’s resolutions might seem simple but they can have a huge impact on your finances. Go ahead and pick at least one or two to implement and in a year from now you’ll be able to look back and see just how powerful they were.
Have you set any financial resolutions yet?
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.