Three Financial Goals to Set in the New Year

If getting your financial situation in order so you can finally get ahead and stop living paycheck-to-paycheck is one of your New Year’s resolutions, then read on. And if you haven’t made any financial resolutions for the new year, you need to so keep reading as well. The longer you wait to get your finances in order, the harder it will be to finally reach those financial goals you’re dreaming of.

Just a small step in the right direction is all it takes to start seeing progress. You don’t need to win the lottery or double your salary to finally get ahead, you just need to be smarter about how you spend the money you make. You need to make your finances a priority and value the money you do have so you can get out of debt and grow your wealth. Sound good?

Here are three great financial goals to set for the new year and how to get started on them:

1. Create a budget that works.

If you’re not currently working with a budget, it’s time to start. If you have a budget but it’s not working for you, it’s time to make some adjustments and get it in order. Use whatever method you prefer, pen and paper, Excel spreadsheets, or a favorite app or website. Just pick one you like and get to work. Make sure you list all of your monthly expenses and all forms of income for a complete picture. If you’re ending up with a negative number at the end of the month, look for ways you can cut back like reducing services on your cable or cell phone plans. Learn how to meal plan on a budget so you can cut your grocery expenses.

2. Try to live on less than you earn.

The easiest way to create financial freedom and wealth is to have money left over for saving or investing at the end of each month. But if you’re living above your means, that’s never going to happen. Look at your biggest expenses and figure how to cut back. It may mean you have to downsize your house or buy an older model car, but those options are definitely preferable to being broke. Living on as little of your income as possible will help to build your wealth quickly and easily.

3. Make a plan to pay off your debts.

Debts not only cause worry and stress, they damage your credit and cost you more than you think. Those interest fees, late payment fees, balance transfer fees, and overdraft fees can add up quickly. Make a solid plan for paying down, and paying off, your debt this year. Let this be the year you finally rid yourself of heavy debt hanging over your head. Get a clear picture of exactly how much debt you have then start making a budget that includes paying it down and finally paying it off.

The new year is a great time to get a fresh start on anything holding you back from your dreams. If your finances are the cause of stress, it’s time to finally step up and take the reigns to get them under control. You’ll thank yourself for it!

Emilie is the brains, the brawn, and the beauty behind She Does Better, inspiring millennial women to live financially, physically, and professionally fit lives. She writes about overcoming debt, while balancing trying to eat healthy, stay fit, and have a little fun along the way. Read more about her journey here.

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