- Analyse your annual expenses by looking at your track record from the previous year and make a budget by reevaluating your priorities.
- Dedicate some time regularly to build a passive income, based on interests, expertise and the time that you can commit in order to supplement your monthly salary.
- Start putting aside your monthly surplus into investments to build passive income as well as beat inflation using the effect of compounding.
- Consolidate all your loans to see which of these can be paid up earlier or refinanced to a lower interest in order to significantly reduce your spending.
- Put as many financial aspects on auto-pilot as possible.
More than once in life, we have all procrastinated taking up good habits or dropping bad ones to the start of the next year. Whether it be quitting smoking, or picking up that book that has been collecting dust on our shelf – we always want to start off on that challenge in the brand new year. After all, New Year always comes with new possibilities in life. As money is one of the most important aspects of life, it’s not surprising that of the most popular new year’s resolutions, financial goals happen to rank in the top few.
However, despite best efforts, less than half of the people who make new year’s resolutions actually manage to stick with it. Because, making a resolution is not enough, it has to be backed by a solid plan to achieve the target. Rightly said – when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. To help you with your plans, we pick out the 5 things you can do to meet the financial goals you have set for 2021.
1. Make a budget
One of the major challenges in our efforts to get our saving bucket growing is not having an understanding of where the unnecessary expenses are. Therefore, it is very important to have a strict budget to start with. We have discussed in depth the golden rule budgeting that helps to put your expenses in separate buckets, thereby helping you track where you are spending. Beginning of the year is a good time to analyze your annual expenses by looking at your track record from the previous year. Based on that you can reevaluate your priorities, make a budget and set off on the journey to saving more.
2. Find ways to earn more
There are only two ways to save more money. One, as discussed in the previous point, you can manage your expenses better by sticking to a budget, though cutting the expenses may be challenging if salary increments do not always catch up with inflation. Two, you can strive to earn more. However, with most of us clocking all our waking hours at work, the sheer thought of a second job is daunting enough. Fortunately, our generation is blessed with technological resources that make it easier to look for income opportunities that do not necessarily require slogging. Whether it be content creation (think: youtube, blog, social media) in your field of interest, or investing into instruments that give dividends, earning an extra stream of income has never been easier. A side hustle that truly stimulates you and gets you some extra income along the way can be very helpful. You should dedicate some time out of your busy schedule to build a passive income, based on interests, expertise and the time you can commit in order to supplement your monthly salary. That will drastically improve the rate of your savings and hence, get you to your financial goals faster.
3. Start investing
If you haven’t already started putting aside your monthly surplus into investments, it’s a good time to start now. As a follow up to point 2, investing regularly in dividend yielding stocks / funds can help you build your passive income. Also, the compounding effect of investing helps to beat inflation and gets you sprinting to your financial goals. The sooner you start investing, the greater the effect of compounding is. And what better time to start on this investing journey than the beginning of the year! For those of you concerned about the markets being too expensive or wondering if it is the right time to start investing, remove timing as a factor and use the power of dollar cost averaging to grow your wealth consistently with the help of an SIP. We have explained why this works and how to go about it in our article on hacks to investing.
4. Consolidate and cut down debt
Another major burden that eats into our savings is the interest we pay on our loans. Many times, it goes unnoticed that we have been paying more than our dues – in the form of higher interest or late payment charges – because we did not manage our loans well. Take some time out to examine all your EMIs, credit card payments, and other personal loans to see which of these can be paid up earlier or refinanced to a lower interest in order to significantly reduce your spending. Pooling together several loans into a single consolidated loan can also be extremely beneficial in lowering interest rates and in helping manage repayments with greater ease.
Whether it be tracking your expenses, filing your taxes or investing your surplus, technology is always handy when it comes to bringing discipline into financial matters. Not only does automation ensure that you will follow through with your plan, it also helps to eliminate any human errors and biases. So this new year, make it a point to put as many financial aspects on auto-pilot as possible. Soon, we will be coming up with a tool that will help you track, manage and execute all aspects of your finances on a single automated platform. That will also leave you with plenty of time in hand to pursue other activities, and achieve the rest of the resolutions you have set for this year. Whether it be reading more or exercising more, or both, you can dive right into it carefree.
It’s not been an easy year for most of us and we are all hoping for a fresh start to life. Let’s make the most out of this opportunity so that we can grow out of the other half of the population that struggles to keep up with their new year resolutions. So stay committed to your resolutions, and have a great year ahead!