It’s only natural to hope each year will be more rewarding than the last, both happiness-wise and money-wise. As for being happier, well, that largely depends upon an individual’s personal idea of what happiness is, doesn’t it? But as for money, that’s pretty much a simple numbers game – more is almost always better.
As you raise your glass to toast in the New Year, consider following these 6 tips that will help you with the money part, which more often than not makes the happiness part be more attainable as well.
1. Live Within Your Means
Make a budget and stick to it, no matter how hard that may be. Here are some guidelines to help you create your budget, based on your take home pay.
- 10% for savings
- 15% for transportation
- 15% for debt repayment
- 25% for misc. expenses
- 35% for rent/mortgage payment
A good way to help you stick to your budget is to maintain a journal documenting how you spend your money.
Make this automatic by having your bank take 10% of your paychecks and place it in a savings account. You should aim to have at least 6 times the amount of your monthly budget on hand for emergencies.
3. Get Insurance
Nothing can wipe you out faster financially than an unfortunate event that you’re not insured for. Depending on what applies to you, Health, Auto, Renter’s, Disability and Life are all must haves.
4. Get Tax Wise
Don’t mess with the IRS, and don’t let them mess with you. Know and understand your tax obligations and options. Research this by getting info from places like H&R Block online.
5. Get Rid of Your Debt
Interest on credit cards and other types of debt like student loans can make it seem like you’re swimming against the current – the longer you take to pay debt off, the more the debt grows. Do your best to always make more than the minimum payment, and focus on paying off one card at a time.
6. Shop Smart
Read your junk mail, especially all the ads you get from grocery stores to find the best deals. Buy in bulk when it makes sense, and always use coupons. With just a little online research, you’ll discover that almost anything can be bought for a discount. Hey, here’s an idea: since you’re already keeping track of what you spend in your journal, also keep track of how much you’ve saved by using coupons. You can then use this money to either help pay off your debts, or add to your savings.
Following these simple tips may not make you rich, but it will most certainly help keep you from being poorer than you would be otherwise. So do it.