Is January when you start thinking about getting better at money? We’ve trawled the experts’ predictions to find the savviest, most achievable list of 2018 new year’s tips.
Now, you just need to act!
ASIC’s MoneySmart contains an oldie but a goodie: set a financial target. Write a short list of SMART goals, i.e. not “pay off my credit card”, but goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Like for example: put an extra $200 on my credit card each month. Then you need to break each of those down into smaller steps, e.g., “take my lunch to work 3 days a week and save $30”, “set up direct debit for x”. You get the gist. The devil really is in the detail…
Take a long, hard look at last year
As CBN News’ website suggests, an important step in setting goals for 2018 is reviewing your financial progress from the year before – your wins, your losses; where your income, expenses, your assets, debts, credit and insurances are sitting. And if you don’t know, a really great goal is to find out.
Gamify your savings goals
Forbes’ journalist Shannon McLay suggests two achievable, short-term ways to save: try a monthly savings challenge; and/or go on a cash diet (live off a set amount of cash each week). That will get you in a positive mindset to tackle some longer-term goals.
Women’s blog Bustle has some sensible tips, including: take advantage of tech tools that help you budget and show where you’re spending your money.
Read and learn
The Motley Fool Singapore suggests educating yourself on investing by reading a book each quarter. It might not be a book, it might be a couple of e-books, or a series of articles by an investment guru. Get recommendations of authors from knowledgeable friends and read a little each day, maybe over lunch or on the train.
Pay bills as soon as you’re paid
Getting into this routine can help you avoid late charges and ensure your credit rating isn’t adversely affected by overdue bills. Thanks to CNBC for that one.
Prioritise your emergency fund
According to The Motley Fool’s Matthew Frankel, having savings for unexpected expenses will save you more than you expect. Ideally you would have six months’ worth of living expenses to hand.
Practical advice from India
How about these tips from India’s Economic Times? “I will not buy just because it’s on sale”. And “I will buy pre-owned cars, refurbished phones, laptops”. You could save hundreds a year… thousands even, that could go into paying down debt, or building up an emergency fund. It may require an attitude change for some readers though (see below)…
Live below your means
It’s a mindset more than a specific goal but Paul Sundin from Inc.com reckons you won’t achieve any new year’s resolutions without changing how you relate to your money.