With Christmas over and New Year’s quickly approaching people often feel it’s the best time of year to make a fresh start. I am no different. This year I have several New Year’s resolutions. Some are not financially related; losing weight, reorganizing our kitchen cupboards, improving The Frugal Path ect… However, my wife and I also have financial goals that we wish to achieve.
Although it shouldn’t be used as a means to procrastinate, creating financially related New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to start 2013 off on the right track. Here are a few that we are going to attempt:
Create a More Detailed/Realistic Budget
This weekend my wife and I will be creating a template for our 2013 budget. With the uncertainty of taxes and the possibility of a new job in my future, this is going to be a rough estimate until the end of February. By that time we hope things will have calmed down enough to make the rest of the year more predicable.
There are a few things I have learned from past budget successes/failures:
- You need to have some fun money. I’ve often found that it’s difficult to stick to a budget if you don’t set aside a little for yourself.
- If you’re married or have a partner talk about what financial goals you want to achieve. Maybe you want to save more for retirement but your spouse wants to remodel the kitchen. By discussing these goals you can discover what’s important to you and your partner and find ways to achieve these goals.
- Budgets are not static. Think of them as living breathing entities. As your needs change so too should your budget.
- Utility costs tend to fluctuate with the seasons. This can sometimes throw your budget off by a few hundred dollars. Check your utilities’ websites to see if they can put you on a fixed payment plan. This way you’ll know how much to budget for each month.
Cut Monthly Expenses
Without creating our budget yet, my wife and I know that there is plenty of fat that we can cut from it. However, once we have our yearly budget written out it will be easier to find areas that seem bloated. Some ideas we’ve had include:
- Getting rid of cable and opting for Hulu/Netflix.
- Changing car insurance companies.
- Eating out half as much as we currently do.
- Possibly having my hair cut at home.
- Consolidating our credit card debt through a credit union.
I’m sure that once we sit down and look over our budget there will be plenty more.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution is, don’t let the opportunity for the clean slate of 2013 pass you by.
What New Year’s Resolutions have you made? Are any financially related? Whatever they may be, have a safe and happy New Year.
Photo provided by: Gamma Man