Happy New Year! There is nothing like the changing of the calendar to signal the potential for positive change. Could 2017 be the year that you adopt good financial habits and get financially fit?
“Good money management isn’t rocket science. It’s about adopting good financial habits and changing behaviour and attitude around money. If you are living paycheque to paycheque and struggling to pay bills, you may feel like achieving financial health is beyond your reach,” says Jeff Schwartz executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“In fact, simply by identifying areas that you need to change, developing a budget with real-life tools and sticking to it, you can change the course of your financial health for the better,” says Schwartz.
If good financial health is on your list of resolutions, here are some financial habits that you’ll want to adopt for the coming year.
Start your day right
Don’t just set a budget for yourself; plan to review your finances on a daily basis. Set in your calendar a reminder to check into your balances every day. Although financial goals are achieved over the long term, it is about mindfulness. Get your finances front and centre in your day. Every day.
If your aim is to pay down debt, it may seem counterproductive to put money in savings. However, having cash on hand to cover emergency expenses will mean that you don’t have to turn to credit.
Make the process seamless by paying yourself first automatically from your paycheque.
Aim to save every time you shop
Every single time you shop, you need to have the goal of saving the most money possible. This comes down to having tools on hand. Subscribe to all of your favourite retailers to receive all promotions and coupons right into your inbox. Make a habit of scanning flyers to find opportunities to price match.
Comparison shop for everything (not just big-ticket purchases).
Get in the habit of cooking dishes that share ingredients or which are conducive to double batches. You can benefit from buying in bulk and save time in your meal preparation, both can deliver a boost to your grocery budget.
Waste not, want not! You are probably throwing a lot of money away without even knowing it. Do you buy bottled water, use ATMs that aren’t from your bank or grab coffee on the way to work? Stop that spending and you’ve literally just grown your bank balance.
Every time you consider a non-essential purchase (e.g. one that isn’t earmarked in your budget) plan to walk away, which will reduce your likelihood of impulse spending. If you still want the item after you’ve had time to consider it, purchase it, but only in cash.
Develop a financial mantra or motto around your financial goals. Repeat it to yourself often until it becomes part of your mindset. It’s cheesy, but vocalizing your beliefs is a way of shifting habits. It also helps you remember why you are making the change when the going gets tough.
Get friends involved
Share your financial goals with your friends and family. Not only will you get extra support, you may find some like-minded folk who are looking to make a change as well. Your chances of succeeding will increase with that support.
If you deviate from your resolution to change, it can be discouraging and you may be tempted to throw in the towel. Recognize this for what it is- a bump in the road, not a failure. You’ll get there!
We can help you get your finances on track this year. The first step is deciding to make that change. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at 1-888-294-3130 or check out our free online debt analysis.