Some of you may have experienced financial turbulence these past few years, and with 2023 in full swing, 2022 is behind us. But if you want to start the year right — looking forward to making 2023 their best financial year yet, it’s not too late to do so.
There are plenty of things that you can do right now – from budgeting tips to clever investment ideas – to get the ball rolling. Remember, there’s no such thing as overnight success in personal finance.
You must work toward financial freedom by being moneysmart with your decisions. Let’s get started.
- Start decluttering and sell unused or slightly used items
- Review your budget and make necessary adjustments
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses
- Start an emergency fund (if you haven’t)
- Pay off debt
- Invest in yourself by taking courses and learning new skills
- Create realistic goals: short, medium, and long term
- Generate multiple sources of income
- Expand your network and get mentored
- Challenge yourself
1. Start decluttering and sell unused or slightly used items
Decluttering helps to reduce stress and make room for more valuable items. This will also help your finances because it reduces the amount spent purchasing storage for clutter.
Not only does decluttering free up physical space, but it can also free up mental space. Removing physical and mental clutter will make it easier to focus on what matters most.
There is an opportunity to make some extra cash by selling these unwanted items online or in second-hand stores. Moreover, you can use the money to pay off debt or save it.
2. Review your budget and make necessary adjustments
For starters, a budget review enables you to assess your current financial situation. It gives you an idea of where you are currently and what needs improvement. Reviewing past expenses helps you identify what areas of spending are draining your resources quickly and which ones can be cut back on without sacrificing too much.
Knowing this information allows you to create a solid plan for allocating your money in the upcoming year. Your budget can also give you an idea of how much money can be saved or invested each month. Use this information to start setting savings goals for yourself to secure a better financial footing for the future.
Additionally, reviewing your budget allows you to take advantage of opportunities. For example, if a new investment opportunity fits within your risk tolerance or if there is an increase in income, these are both great reasons for revisiting your budget and making adjustments accordingly.
3. Cut down on unnecessary expenses
First off, let’s get familiar with what makes unnecessary expenses. These are items or services you can do without or live without for the foreseeable future.
From buying designer clothes to subscribing to streaming services you rarely use — these items may seem “essential” at first glance. But upon closer inspection, they turn out to be entirely dispensable.
Of course, living without all these unnecessary expenses doesn’t mean having to cut off all luxuries—you also deserve occasional treats! However, being mindful of how much you’re spending and knowing when to say no will help ensure that your finances won’t get depleted all year ‘round.
4. Start an emergency fund (if you haven’t)
In this uncertain world, it’s critical to set aside some money in a dedicated emergency fund—even if you don’t think you need it right now.
An emergency fund lets you weather any sudden changes in your income or large, unpredictable expenses without having to resort to detrimental practices such as borrowing from high-cost lenders or using credit cards with high interest rates.
It also offers a sense of security, knowing that an unexpected event won’t catch you off guard. An ideal goal is to have three months’ worth of living expenses saved up, but if that’s too much at once, feel free to start smaller and slowly build up your funds over time.
5. Pay off debt
Debt can quickly become overwhelming, especially with interest rates and fees adding up each month. Paying off your debt gives you the financial freedom to start saving for more important things like retirement or a large purchase.
One of the most popular strategies is the “debt snowball method.” This requires you to focus on paying off one debt at a time while making minimum payments on all other debts. This strategy works because it allows you to focus all your attention and resources on one particular debt until it is paid off before moving on to the next one.
Starting down the path of becoming debt-free may seem daunting at first. But by taking small steps like forming a budget, tracking your spending habits, and identifying areas where you can cut back, you can put yourself financially in a much better position over time.
6. Invest in yourself by taking courses and learning new skills
You can become financially free and independent with a good understanding of your finances and an ever-growing skill set.
Taking courses and learning new skills can help you achieve both of these goals as they provide you with knowledge and abilities to help you manage your money, grow assets, and secure your future.
Taking courses expands your career opportunities by developing valuable skills employers seek. Skills such as problem-solving ability, communication skills, technical know-how, and productivity tools mastery all make strong resumes stand out from the competition.
Earning certifications or having specialized knowledge in a specific field or industry may open doors that would otherwise be closed due to a lack of experience or qualifications.
7. Create realistic goals: short, medium, and long-term
Creating realistic financial goals is essential to having a healthy financial future. Setting realistic goals helps you stay on track and make the most of your money by focusing on what matters most.
Having short, medium, and long term goals will help you stay focused and motivated to achieve your financial objectives.
- Short-term goals can be achieved in a few months or less such as saving up for an emergency fund or paying off your credit card debt. These are important because they provide quick wins and motivate you to achieve your bigger goal.
- Medium-term goals usually take three to five years to achieve, such as investing in retirement plans or purchasing life insurance. These objectives can help ensure financial stability in the future while still allowing some wiggle room if unexpected expenses arise.
- Long-term goals will take five years or more, like buying a house or starting a business. These require patience and dedication but can result in significant rewards.
8. Generate multiple sources of income
Having more than one source of income can help diversify your earnings and ensure an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. It can also provide stability and security, giving you the confidence to take risks with investments or career moves.
With multiple revenue sources, you can structure your finances to work for you, allowing you to plan for short-term goals (like saving for a vacation) and long-term investments (like retirement).
When choosing what type of income to generate, it’s essential to consider your risk tolerance, timeline, and potential tax implications. You should also consider diversifying across different types of businesses or asset classes.
9. Expand your network and get mentored
Networking is a key factor in any successful career path. It’s a way to meet knowledgeable and experienced people in the same or similar field as you. Create relationships with them to benefit from their experiences and advice.
Building a solid professional network of contacts can help lead to greater success for your financial goals both now and in the future. When done right, networking can lead to more meaningful relationships, business opportunities, and even better job prospects.
A mentorship is an invaluable tool when it comes to single-handedly building wealth. Having a mentor who has already succeeded in areas like investments or real estate allows you to learn from their experience without suffering their mistakes.
Not only that but having someone give you guidance on how best to achieve your own financial goals will provide valuable insight into how you should manage your finances moving forward. This kind of expertise is impossible to measure.
10. Challenge yourself
One way to challenge yourself is to create a 52-week challenge for saving money. This challenge aims to save a certain amount of money each week. Starting with the smallest amount and then gradually increasing it each week until you reach the end.
For example, you could start by saving ₱100 per week and increase it by ₱100 every week until you’ve saved ₱5,200 at the end of the year. This will help you build up your savings and help develop better spending habits and become more mindful about how you use your money.
Creating new financial habits is another great way to push yourself during any given year and reach those lofty goals you have set for yourself. Habits like
- Budgeting regularly
- Setting aside funds for emergency expenses
- Tracking spending
- Packing lunch instead of buying take-outs
These are just some things that can help improve your overall financial situation.
You could even go as far as creating a rewards system for when milestones are achieved – like saving up for a vacation fund or paying off credit card debt – which would give you something tangible to work towards and keep motivation high throughout the year.
Ultimately, taking on challenges like these helps instill better spending habits which will be beneficial in the long run and lead to more sustainable results than short-term fixes such as impulse buying or splurging on unnecessary items.
Financially successful people can take risks while also being conscious of their finances. Challenging yourself may be one way of achieving both.