I don’t know about you but I never feel quite on top of my financial game coming into a new year, after the Christmas holidays followed by summer fun and New Year’s. Doesn’t help that two of our insurance bills come due around this time! Or, this year, that we have a new baby and the (very generous) paid leave from my job is about to end 👶
If you too need to get back into the swing of it for 2021, here are a few things that might help!
Track your net worth
Regularly tracking your net worth helps you see if you’re actually making progress overall. It gets addictive once you’re on a roll! Until the market turns, at which point it’s totally legit to take a break and turn a blind eye. (Tip: Sharesight can help with keeping track of your investments – I find it super handy.)
Shake up your budget
Budgets aren’t static. Yours is probably a little out of date. A new year is the best time to review and adjust your plan. Making tweaks isn’t a sign of failure, it’s smart! If you’re all sussed, maybe you need to challenge yourself more…
Pick one thing to cut back on
Personally I’m not into no-spend days (mainly because almost all of mine fall into that category anyway) but I am a fan of choosing one area to focus my savings on, whether that’s eating out, electricity, petrol, pet stuff, whatever. You could even tackle a different one every month.
Review your insurance policies
As in, make sure you know what you’re covered for! What are you actually paying for? Is it sufficient? You might need to increase or decrease your coverage, or you might want to adjust your excess to lower your premiums. Since redoing our kitchen, I desperately need to revisit and update our contents insurance cover.
Track your expenses
I used to do this religiously. Then I lost the inclination – and now, I don’t really have the time, either! But it’s still a really valuable thing to do once in awhile, especially if you need to do a bit of a reset. Tracking what you spend for a month can help you figure out your current baseline and set the foundation for a money cleanse.
Check your credit – and keep an eye on it
Monitoring your credit is just good hygiene. It’s part of ongoing maintenance. So pull your credit report today, and make a note in your calendar for the next time! It should be a box-checking exercise really, but every so often there’s a little surprise waiting and you need to be on top of those.
Start an emergency fund
If you don’t already have a rainy day buffer, make this the year you get one! Even if you can only put away $20 a week, it’s committing to the regular contribution that counts and adds up. Cash is king.
Step up your debt repayment
Pay off one debt. Consolidate your debts. Refinance or apply for a balance transfer. Find a way to accelerate your debt journey – it’ll pay off both mentally and financially!
Do one thing to enhance your money making mojo
Love your job? There’s always room to keep learning and growing, whether in technical areas or in soft skills, that’ll make you more marketable.
If you’re due for a review, it’s the perfect time to take stock of your achievements and request a raise. The worst they can say is no.
Or maybe it’s time to take the next step. Do you know what you’re worth? Or what kind of employer you’re looking for, what salary, what title? The more focused you can be the better your chances of getting there.
Side hustles are still hot, so could this be the year you dive into freelancing, launching that Etsy shop or starting some other business?
Open an investment account
We all gotta invest. Or our savings will shrink year after year and dwindle to nothing. Inflation’s a bitch. If you haven’t bitten the bullet yet, make this the year you take the leap. There are more options in NZ than ever and they all seem to start with S (Superlife, Sharesies, Simplicity, Smartshares…); here’s a good guide for newbies.