The start of a new year is a great time to reflect on the previous year’s financial goals and challenges and create new resolutions for the year ahead. The start of a new year and a new decade is an especially great time to create long-term financial resolutions.
I have personally experienced great financial growth in the past decade, so I know what an impact small lifestyle changes can make on your financial situation when implemented over a period of 10 years. Here are three tips for achieving financial success in the new decade ahead that helped me grow financially in the past 10 years:
1. Be more mindful of unnecessary purchases and decide which ones to eliminate
Do you buy a cup of coffee at your favorite coffee shop every morning, eat out every day of the week, pay late fees and ATM fees, buy clothes you don’t wear, or pay for subscriptions to several video streaming services? These are just a few habits that tend to eat up budgets and keep you from achieving your long-term financial goals.
Improving on these habits doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating them. You can make progress by becoming aware of all your unnecessary purchases and deciding which ones matter to you and eliminating those that are least important.
For example, if buying lunch most weekdays (instead of bringing something from home) eliminates a lot of stress from your already hectic workweek – and you can build the cost into your budget – you may decide the expense is worth keeping. On the other hand, if your family doesn’t watch much TV, consider cutting the cord and getting rid of cable, which will allow substantial savings over 10 years!
2. Do more research before making major purchases
When making major purchases, such as cars, homes, insurance plans, home renovation projects and even new furniture, it’s important to research your options in order to get the best value for your money. Evaluate different retailers and their prices, reviews, and resale prices for the products or services you’re looking to purchase.
Some purchases require ongoing research. For example, many experts recommend you shop for new auto coverage as often as every six to 12 months in order to get the best deals.
3. Start a side gig (or multiple side gigs!)
Do you have any special talents or skills such as photography, tutoring or nannying? Consider spending a few hours on the weekends or after work on a side gig to make some extra money to help pay your bills or just to have some extra spending money.
Even if you don’t have any specific skills that can be leveraged to start a side gig, consider other options to make extra money, such as renting out your extra space, cleaning homes, or even having regular garage sales!
Generally, the key to most financial success stories is finding a way to increase income while also cutting spending, and this often looks different for each person and family. Strategies that have helped my family achieve financial goals include limiting eating out, doing an ample amount of research on major purchases such as insurance, and being willing to do some extra work in our free time to generate extra income.
Use the new year and new decade time of reflection to determine a strategy that will work for you and your family. And don’t hesitate to reach out to your banker or financial advisor for help creating a customized long-term financial plan!