A new year always comes with the desire to reset everything, and I've found that finances can be one of the most difficult places to start fresh. In January we often start with lofty goals, like save $5000 throughout the year using envelopes, spend only on necessities one month every quarter, or pay an additional $20,000 against your mortgage (our big hairy goal for 2023!). However, these goals are BIG, and can seem daunting, and frankly it's too easy to lose traction, get off track, and give up before March even arrives.
To give you a bit of a running start, here are three simple things you can do to take back control of your finances and get those small wins that lend momentum to achieving those bigger goals.
1) REVIEW ALL YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS
This one is so simple, but can have such a big impact! What do you subscribe to monthly? Online sites? Streaming services? Apps? Get a cup of coffee, find them ALL, and make a spreadsheet or write a note with what they are, what they cost, and how often you use them. You may find some you can cancel, or even some you can combine for a lower rate. Get those dollars back into your bottom line!
2) CALL YOUR SERVICE PROVIDERS
Wifi, cell phones, cable providers - they all have the ability to offer discounts and deals. Take some time and reach out to them. Just a few phone calls could end up saving you a significant amount of money!
3) START A ZERO-BASED BUDGET
I know, this one can seem limiting or intimidating (raise your hand if you're a spender like me!), but I can tell you from years of experience that a budget actually sets you free to spend with confidence. I didn't budget until marrying my financially-savvy-saving-inclined husband Gabe, but it's hands down been one of the biggest way we've leveraged our income to not only meet our needs but allow us to have fun.
To start, you could use a spreadsheet, but I highly recommend the Everydollar App. The basic version is free, or there is a free trial of Ramsey+, and it's so easy to use. Put in your income, then build out your monthly expenses, starting with your recurring knowns (subscriptions, rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, and the like). Then build in your other categories, like groceries, restaurants, entertainment, etc. The idea behind your budget is that you give every dollar a place to go, so you are in control of your money - it doesn't control you. Okay, so now that you've done that, are you ready for the fun part?
If I have $150 in my clothing budget, I can buy that $75 sweater without blinking an eye, because I know I can afford it. I budgeted for it. If I want that Starbucks coffee every Monday? No problem. It's in the budget, so I don't just hope I can afford that and my water bill - I know I can. I'm free to spend those dollars, because that's where those dollars are meant to be spent. No stress. No worry. Just fun.
Now, I'm not sponsored by Everydollar, or Dave Ramsey, or any of the affiliates or subsidiaries thereof - it's simply that the Everydollar app and budgeting have given me freedom and control over my finances, and I want to share that with you ladies!
So there you have it! Three easy ways to take control of your finances in January to give you that quick win and running start towards achieving your big hairy goals in 2023.
As always, feel free to message me here or on Instagram (@simplicityandcoffee) with any thoughts or questions!