Happy New Year to all you readers! 2020 was probably one of the most unpredictable and horrible years. I won’t even put up a front on what type of a year it has been. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged throughout the world, unfortunately took many lives and changed way of life. We’ve been quarantined, forced to face our own personal issues since we were home all the time, utilized Zoom and/or Google Hangouts, ran out of toilet paper and a whole bunch of more things! Nonetheless, here we are. 2021 is here and this is your chance at a fresh start! The pandemic is still alive and well even with the vaccine slowly being distributed throughout the world. Restrictions are still in place but even with all these obstacles in the way, it does not mean you can do your best to fix or improve your financial situations. On top of that, we all should be receiving the $600.00 stimulus check from the IRS sometime this week if you are in the US and if you qualify (definitely not enough but hey, I’m just one opinion). Anyway, I’m here to discuss some financial moves you could make to start the year on a good and positive note. We all have different situations and everything I discuss may not apply to you. Either way, I hope you will be able to apply some of these things to your own personal finance journey.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
I know, I know. This is a tough task to do but if you don’t carry too much credit card debt and have the ability to pay it off, do it!! I mean, what better to go start 2021 with a clean slate mentally and financially! Paying off your credit cards and having zero balances has a real nice look to it. You won’t feel discouraged about your bills and you can start this year with a clear mind. Especially if you are carrying student loan debt, while you aren’t gaining interest on those loans you could go off and pay off those credit cards! Like I said, it’s not as easy for anyone. The holidays just ended and Christmas isn’t exactly the cheapest holiday especially if you have a huge family. Maybe this will help you for next holiday season!
If you aren’t able to pay off your credit card bills in full, try this:
- Begin planning on how to tackle your debts. It’s discouraging at first to look at credit card bills, but it’s the only way you’ll know how much you owe and how you can begin to plan to pay it off. Check out one of my posts on how to tackle credit card debt! Having a plan laid out for the year will get you feeling confident about what is yet to come. Start off the year with the right mindset and motivation!
Download Expense Tracking Spreadsheets/Apps
One of the biggest things I emphasize on this website is: Track Your Spending. I mean, one of my first posts was wholly dedicated to tracking expenses! It’s important to track your spending because you’ll figure out how much you’re spending, earning after taxes, and if you’re saving or losing money! There are a couple of ways you can track your expenses:
- Pick up a notebook and pen/pencil and start writing it down!
- There’s no shame in being old school. You do what works or you and don’t let anybody shame you for what’s best for you!
- Excel Spreadsheets
- We just so happen to offer a FREE spreadsheet customized for 2021 expense tracking! If you’re a Microsoft Excel and spreadsheet user, check out this post and give it a download!
- Mobile Apps – For 2020, I tested out a mobile app called Spendee to track my finances, review coming soon! Here are a couple of other apps to try out:
- Personal Capital (can also track net worth)
Regardless of what you decide to do, if you are tracking expenses then you have a better chance of efficiently saving money! You don’t even need to necessarily doing budgeting! If you’re like me, budgets rarely work out for me. If I know how much I am spending each money and how much I am making, then I know I can adjust accordingly and be able to save money!
Sit Down With Your Significant Other/Spouse To Talk Finances
Talking with your significant other/spouse about finances is one of the most important aspects to a healthy relationship in my opinion. Check out my full post here on talking about finances with your partner. If you believe talking with your significant other about money is not a good thing, that is your opinion and I respect that. However, I believe in being transparent with your significant other about personal finances. With that being said, starting off the year with a money date with your significant other/spouse would help set the tone for the year financially! For example, during your date you both may express wanting to save more money this year or begin saving for a house. Knowing your partners aspirations can help motivate you both as a couple in attaining those things. You both are a team and you both want to be there to hold each other accountable and to succeed. Talk to your partner, it’s so worth it! The bear and me talk about our finances and the things we want to do at the most random times. We have random money dates without planning it because the bear hates numbers! However, we often talk about things we want to do and things we want to save for without involving numbers. That works as well!
Care For Yourself
This part does not fully help you financially, but it’ll put your mind in the right place to help you in all parts of life including with your finances. Don’t forget about yourself too! Starting or improving your own financial journey is can drain you mentally and it’s important to celebrate the small wins and take care of yourself all the time. At the end of the day, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself mentally after working, doing household chores, making sure your bills are paid, doing side hustles and more. Read that book, take that walk or play that video game. Do something that fulfills you or what the bear calls it “fill your cup”. I often forget to fill my cup and the bear gets frustrated with me when I don’t because it’s like my mind is cluttered. She’s right, I have to care for myself. For example, when I want to fill my cup, I workout, go to the driving range to hit some golf balls, read a book or watch the Nets game. Do what the things you love. I try my best to do it and I suggest the same for you. Whenever you’re in the middle of the grind just don’t forget to celebrate your victories no matter how small and to take care of yourself at the end of the day. The more you care for yourself, the more you’ll be able to achieve in this life. So don’t forget to schedule some self-care when you’re planning your are you tasks and goals for this year!
We are all different and we all live our lives differently. I hope if you are struggling financially or struggling to consistently save money that this website can help be a stepping stone for you to improve yourself financially. Nobody wants to be in debt and not everybody has access to the knowledge learning to be financially responsible. I hope this website can provide helpful information for you to apply in your own life. I also hope this website invokes thought into your brain about how you deal with personal finance. Regardless of how you start off your year, I wish that you have a year filled with prosperity, good health and more wealth!