Happily saying goodbye to 2020, many of us have high hopes for 2021 and the New Year that’s just begun. If you’ve got some big plans for this year, chances are you have already written down a list of resolutions. In fact, just last month we blogged about the topic of resolutions, specifically as they related to your home. In keeping with the same philosophy from that blog – about ways to make sure 2021 is a good year, today, we’re addressing financial tips for a New Year that’s merry and bright!
Much like the resolutions for your home, you’re going to want to plan appropriately to “start the plan” for your financial future. What I mean is, set aside some time to devote to this task. This shouldn’t be a hurried conversation, late at night when you’re tired and the kids are in bed. You’ll want to plan ahead, make a pot of coffee, have a pen and paper handy and maybe your laptop or mobile device for quick access to your banking and financial information. Once you’re comfortable and have all you need, let the planning begin:
Easy, Accessible and Manageable Financial Tips For Any Budget!
- Make a list of all your expenses. Consider everything and be honest! How many times do you grab that expensive Mocha Latte or run to the grocery store when you’re both tired and hungry and spend way more than you anticipated? Identify opportunities for savings and even, just like with household items, opportunities for discarding – in this case – getting rid of unwanted expense.
- Review all of your bills.
- How much are you paying for electricity and could you make better use of the “time of day” rates that are available?
- Can you lower the thermostat a degree or two and put on a sweater instead and how about the cell phone or cable bill?
- We all watched a lot of TV in 2020 but maybe now is the time to review your both your viewing and spending habits!
- Once you’ve undertaken a thorough review of your expenses, now it’s time for the real work to begin. Budgeting. Whether small or large, it doesn’t matter what your budget is as long as it reflects your needs, your family income and your expenses. Anyone on any income has a better chance of planning for their future when they have an accurate idea of their current spending requirements. Again, make sure the list is thorough and don’t forget about budgeting for birthdays, holidays and setting some money aside for a rainy day or unexpected vehicle repair. Make sure your list covers both “needs” and “wants.” You just might find that by planning for your need to have items, there might be a little left over for the “want to have” treats.
- Have a Goal in Mind. If you’ve always wanted a “Couples Only” getaway (sometime in the future when we can travel again that is) start saving now. As little as a few dollars each week can really add up. If it’s a family holiday you seek, same rules apply but make sure you factor in the realistic dates of travel, the ages of your children at time of travel and then adjust your savings schedule up or down accordingly. There’s no point in planning for Disney if you don’t expect to get there ‘til the kids are 18 and 22!
- Consolidation can be a good thing. Look at an itemized list of all your bills and expenses, mortgage, loans and/or line of credit. Investigate financial institutions to see who is offering the best rates. Consider consolidating all of your expenses into one monthly payment with the lowest rate of interest. Take advantage of those “Buy Now/Pay Later” offers ONLY if you budget for that amount each month and WILL pay off the debt at the end of the time period. These types of plans can be a good way to get what you need now but only if you are disciplined.
- Planning for the Future. If you have children you should really consider RESP’s. A University or College education is expensive, you’ll be glad you started sooner than later. The same rules apply for RRSP’s, especially if you don’t have any kind of pension plan at your place of employment. We hear it from our parents and grandparents all the time, that is – “time flies” – and it really does, so planning for your retirement now is always a good idea.
There is certainly a whole lot more we could talk about but I think you get the idea. Planning and budgeting now, for expenses (both the good and the bad) that might come up later, is always a good idea. If you’re thinking about home ownership in your future, and/or either upsizing or downsizing in 2021, you’re going to want to plan for those costs too. I can help. I am a fully licenced real estate professional who has lived and worked in the Vaughan, Woodbridge, Kleinberg corridor my entire life and my philosophy is to help families buy with confidence and sell with success. One of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make is buying a home. That’s not just a transaction to me; it’s about helping you find the right place, on the right budget and that meets all your family’s expectations for a financial future that’s merry and bright!