Resolutions can make you crazy. Unrealistic goals of a self-denying nature have a way of doing that. But realistic, healthy personal finance goals can give you a positive framework without failed resolution guilt. Here are some of the best tips culled from across the web for starting (and finishing) the year with a healthy financial outlook:
1. Cut your debt. If you have debt, this is the number one item on your personal finance 2013 checklist. Prioritize that debt from most debilitating (credit cards with interest of 19.5%) to least (that $50 you borrowed from grandma), and make a plan to aggressively pay down your debt this year. If you don’t know how or where to start, seek help. Find a non-profit debt counseling service ASAP.
2. Plan your financial roadmap for the year. Whether it’s making a simple monthly budget or sitting down with a financial planner to do a complete assessment of your financial goals, set aside some time to map your money for 2013.
3. Probably the most obvious tip of all time, but spend less and save more. How much less you spend and how much more you save depends on your goals for 2013. Really look at your budget to decide what’s right for you.
4. Avoid impulse spending. We’ve written about this in the past. Canadians (and probably the rest of the world) are terrible impulse shoppers. Don’t fall prey to your impulses. They’re usually steering you towards an impractical purchase that you’ll regret within seconds (sorry!).
5. Get your paper house in order. Do you have life insurance? A will? Disability insurance? These things take less time and money to get in order than you think and can save you and your dependents much time, money and stress.
6. Get rid of unnecessary cards. Do you still tote around a loyalty card for the shop where you used to buy all your pleated pants? Streamline your cards, keeping only the ones that you use frequently, and do away with cards with extremely high interest rates and little benefit.
7. Make sure your investment portfolio is still on target. Don’t leave your portfolio idle. Review it each year to make sure your risk tolerance, goals, and asset diversification still meet your needs.
8. Get to the gym! Just kidding. Though do get to the gym if you pay for one. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.