The time for “New Year, new me” resolutions is finally here, and we’ve got five — actually attainable — resolutions that you’ll want to keep up with all year long. Read on to find out five ways to make 2021 a financially great year.
- Learn a new (financial) language
Does listening to financial talk sometimes feel like hearing a foreign language? Instead of simply nodding along, make a resolution to improve your financial literacy in 2021. Finally learn what all those pesky IRS forms are and the ins-and-outs of money management. There are plenty of resources online that can help you decode the definitions behind personal finance terms. You can even make a Quizlet to help you commit the terminology to memory! If you’re worried about finding the time to teach yourself this new language, try incorporating some financial podcasts into your weekly routine. By listening to financial podcasts, you can improve your finance skills while still going about your daily tasks. It’s a great way to get stuff done and get a better idea of what is going on in your wallet.
- Clear out the clutter
Recurring payments can be a great time saver, but they can also get out of hand very easily. Sit down and comb through your recurring payments so you can know exactly where your money is going and when it’s being taken. Take an especially close look at your monthly subscriptions. How many television streaming services are you subscribed to? Music streaming services? There are countless entertainment streaming platforms out there, but you don’t need to subscribe to all of them. Make a list of your entertainment subscriptions and figure out which ones you actually use and which ones are just cluttering up your monthly or annual payments. This applies to paid store memberships, too — if you don’t shop at that store much anymore, don’t forget to cancel the membership card before you get charged for the new year renewal!
- Get creative
Don’t let yourself feel trapped by the status-quo of savings; there are many ways to get creative with your finances. Need some extra money for tighter areas in your budget but don’t know how where to get it? Look into refinancing your existing auto loan from another company with us! With our low rates, your monthly payment will be more manageable, which means you’ll have more money in your pocket, ready to put to good use. Making the switch from a high-interest rate credit card to our low-rate card could also decrease the amount of money you’re spending per term, freeing up funds to put elsewhere. There are so many avenues you can take to save money. Get in touch with one of our financial experts, and we’ll help you get creative in finding them!
- Take up a new (money-saving) hobby
Trying a new hobby can help improve one’s mood and daily motivation, but don’t forget that it could also help your wallet! Want to try improving your culinary skills? Great! Ditch the costly take-out meals and door deliveries, and resolve to cook meals at home. Halting the high delivery costs, tax, and tips (or gas money for drive-thru and pick-up options) will drastically cut down your monthly expenses, giving you more money to spare. You could also pick up a new hobby that could increase your income instead of simply help you save. The internet has given us a wealth of resources when it comes to finding freelance work. Skilled at editing? Explore the world of freelance editing for supplemental income. Got an artistic side? Look into starting up an online shop to sell your handmade goods on sites like Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. The options are exciting and endless!
- Plan it out!
Most people shudder at the word “budget.” It’s never fun to sit down and decide what you can’t spend money on. Instead, why not give yourself the freedom to choose what you can spend money on? This tactic for approaching money management is called a “spending plan,” and it’s a lot less intimidating than a budget. A spending plan gives you a lot more flexibility in your finances while still keeping you focused on covering your monthly essentials.
The process of determining your “non-negotiable” expenses is mainly the same as a budget: you have rent, electricity, water, internet, groceries, emergency funds, future funds, etc. The difference begins when you determine your flexible categories. For example, entertainment, personal shopping, dining out, date nights, and more. A spending plan gives you the freedom to set ballpark amounts for these categories without restricting you too harshly. As long as you have your monthly non-negotiables covered, how you distribute money from month to month in your other categories doesn’t matter as much. A budget is far more restrictive, which can put you in a panicked mindset of “money is always tight, I have no wiggle room;” whereas, a spending plan gives you the control to say “I have the room to spend a little extra here this month.” So start 2021 establishing a spending plan and giving yourself the freedom to choose where your money should go and how you want to spend it!
Pro Tip: You can find all of your recurring subscriptions in the Money Desktop tool in Sierra’s online and mobile banking. Add all of your cards and accounts to ID any subscriptions you may have forgotten about.
Also, if you are looking for more financial resources, check out Time’s list of the Best Financial Podcasts for 2021.