I wrote a Grandpa’s nightshirt-long twitter thread about small things you can achieve, monthly, to actually succeed at your New Year resolution to save more money. I received a buncha requests to put them into a post, so here she is!!
First, the rallying cry:
And the instructions:
That’s right, pick only one or two items each month, and work only on those one or two items. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to fix or improve everything at once. That’s counterproductive.
If you’d prefer these in a downloadable spreadsheet which you can use to track on your computer OR print out and track manually, smash the substantial blue button and I’ll sling a spreadsheet copy your way!! (If you don’t see it, check your promotions folder.)
21 Mini Money Resolutions For the New Year
1. Look at your credit and debit statements from the last two months. No. Really look! Print them out. You find a budget gremlin? The thing you spend too much money on, that’s maybe even kind of forgettable? Eliminate this item for your budget for one month.
2. Track your spending manually for a month. Like, WRITE IT DOWN!! Get a fun notebook/use your planner and every time you spend, scribe that shit. I find this so much more effective and tolerable than opening a spreadsheet after a long day working.
3. Organize your debt using a spreadsheet, or write all of your loans down on a piece of paper. Pick a small balance to focus on. Put extra monies towards this loan and kick that thing all the way to the damn sun!!! (it is ok if this takes longer than a month!!)
4. Pick another source of debt to work on. This time, pick the one with the highest interest rate. Maybe a credit card. That’s your new mark. Bury the little jerk like a seed.
5. Open up a high-interest savings account at Ally or similar bank. Move over $20, $50, $100—whatever you can. Voilà! You now have the start of an emergency fund. Bonus: Set up an automatic contribution to this account, from your checking account.
6. Cancel all sales newsletters polluting your inbox with fashion, home, lifestyle, and wellness shaming. Do the same with Instagram. Ask yourself, “Who profits when I feel that I am not good enough?”
7. Take a few weeks to consider reasons you may overspend. Is it because you feel like new clothes, new beauty products, new gizmos will make you happier? More confident? Does it work? Do you believe in this method? Bonus: Read The Year of Less by Cait Flanders.
8. Do you have or do small daily affirmations? Add one to your list that confirms your worth, and reminds you of your goals to take care of Future You. Ex: “I am worthy of prosperity and know that saving money will make me feel safe and accomplished.”
9. Choose one book to read: Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry, Get Money by Kristin Wong, or The Financial Diet by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage. If you struggle to read non-fiction, listen to an audiobook! (Oh and I get all books, ebooks, AND audiobooks from the lybz!!)
10. Subscribe to blogs and revolutionize how you learn about money. Bitches Get Riches, My Fab Finance, Half Banked, Mixed Up Money, Bravely, and Four Pillar Freedom write educational, non-judgy material, and they’re all a real hoot.
11. Involve yourself in communities of like-minded people who talk candidly about money, both online and in person. For starters, check out the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram (I like @debtstoriches) or the Talk About Money Facebook group by The Financial Diet.
12. Set a meeting with your boss and ask what you need to do in the next four months to achieve a raise. Real talk: Cutting coupons and cutting out lattes has significant limits; your real path to wealth is to GET DAT BREAD.
13. Spend a whole month updating your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter.
14. Studies show that switching companies is one of the best ways to substantially increase your salary over time. Apply to five jobs that seem like a stretch. (If you’re a freelancer, reach out to five dream clients with big money pitches!!) Read: “Employees Who Stay At Companies Longer Than 2 Years Get Paid 50% Less.”
15. If you do it right, retirement is going to be the biggest expense of your life. I know this is hard to hear and even harder to act on, so your only task for this month is to consider what this means for you. Read: “Save Now, Party Later: How Much Money Do I Need to Save For Retirement?”
16. Increase your 401k percentage by as much as you can. Because it’s pre-tax, it will not change your paycheck as much as you expect!! If you’re a contractor, open a SEP IRA, Roth IRA, or other retirement account. Read: “Settling the Confusion Between 401(k), IRA, and Roth IRA Accounts, Once and For All.” Recommended banks: Vanguard, Fidelity
17. Saving in your retirement account alone isn’t enough. You also have to invest, so now it’s time to learn how!! Read the Stock Series by JL Collins or The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle.
18. Acquaint yourself with the renting vs. owning debate. No matter what you decide, learning two sides of an argument will help you develop the critical thinking skills you’ll need in lotsa financial decisions. Read: “Renting is Throwing Your Money Away…Right?”
19. Comfortable with stocks? Consider buying a stock index fund or a retirement target-date fund from Fidelity or Vanguard in your retirement account. (Beware, some target-date funds charge too-high fees. Check the expense ratio and stay away from anything that costs > .4%.)
20. Learn about the magical unicornian power of compound returns. This motivating, important financial concept will motivate you to start investing now!! Read: “Your Youth Is Your Super Power and the Voodoo Magic of Compound Returns.”
21. Get an accountability buddy or group!! You’re not the only person out there who wants to get better with money. Find someone you trust and enjoy and do a virtual, IRL, or email check-in with them once per week/month! Do not underestimate the value of accountability <3
22. Your credit score affects the interest rate on loans you’ll take out somewhere down the line. Start working on your credit score now, and start by looking at your credit history FOR FREE from AnnualCreditReport.com. Read: “How to Hack Your Credit Score.”
Good luck out there, and good for you for wanting to get better with money. Keep me posted on your progress!!
Again, if you’d prefer this information in a neat n’ tidy spreadsheet that you can use to track your progress on your computer OR to keep a print out at your desk or in your planner, hit me with your email and I’ll send it to you. Click ma button, below:
Happy New Year, and cheers to a fun and prosperous New Year!! Let’s boogie <3