Posted on Sunday 08 January 2017
With a new year comes a new chance to gain control of your money, and set yourself up for a future of financial freedom.
Maybe you've had enough of living paycheque-to-paycheque, or perhaps you’re hoping to buy a house. Whatever your goals are, getting serious about saving takes proper planning and consistency. Whether this is your first year of taking saving seriously or your tenth, here are out top tips to help you make the most of your money this year.
Make sure you only follow the ones that make sense to you. After all, everyone is different and has their own way of doing things. Use what works for you and discard the rest. It's great to get advice from people but deep down, you already know what to do. Anyways, here are some tips that may or may not work for you.
Identify your goals
By pinpointing your savings goals for this year, you will be able to set a realistic savings schedule.
Getting clear about your finances requires writing down your monthly incomes, expenditures and and ongoing debts or repayments. Looking at each month, you should then be able to choose an amount that goes straight into savings.
So always start by setting some targets and then move forward. This doesn't mean you can spend money on cyber Monday but just do what works for you.
You can even add on dates to these targets. A highly recommended practice by the way. Once you start adding the dates, it will have a very positive psychological effect on you. As it will make your goals seem achievable. The truth is, they are. They most definitely are.
Make a plan
Once you have clear financial goals and they are nicely laid out, it is time to make a plan for how you’re going to reach them. If you have many debts, now may the time to consolidate them. It also may be worth researching the right savings account for you (preferably one with high returns). Reaching out to a financial professional such as a credit counsellor or financial advisor may also be a wise move.
This will help you reach your 2021 savings goals in a very consistent and regular way. A great way of doing things on your own is by using spreadsheets. It's just a phenomenal way of keeping the 'house' in order.
It's amazing how a simple thing like a spreadsheet can help you map out things. We highly recommend that you either use Google docs or the classic Microsoft excel and start working on your financial plan. Don't forget to add an emergency fund to your plan as well.
Consider the future
While you may be saving for something in the near future (like a car or a downpayment), it is smart to also consider the distant future. Now may be the time to up your retirement fund contributions or re-invest some savings in a long-term account. You want your money to last you well into the future.
Not just that, plan to pass something on to the next generation. The whole goal of money is to help you and your family grow so make sure you see it through. This way, the next generation will get a head start. Which will also dramatically increase their chances of living a better life.
Cut back on spending
One of the easiest ways to up your savings is to reduce how much you go out. Also by creating spending rules for yourself. This may be limiting yourself to one meal out a week, having designated “no spend” days, or cutting back on your gym membership.
Consider where you can cuts costs, and remember that even small amounts of unexpected spending can really add up over a year. Time to start making your coffee at home.
However, if you are one of those people that don't need such rules, then don't follow them. Saving money is great but you don't have to be miserable about it. The whole goal of life is to have fun everyday. With or without money. So have fun, do things that work for you in your way and amazing things will come your way naturally.