The season of excess has come to an end and you might have found yourself yielding to the temptation to take advantage of all the sales or getting extravagant gifts for your loved ones for Christmas. 

It happens to the best of us but now that the new year has begun it is time to turn things around and get back on a solid financial path. We have a couple of tips on how you can achieve your financial goals this year through better money management and consistent saving.

Better Money Management

Developing good financial habits starts with having good money management. This means identifying your weak points and thinking of ways to improve, assessing your spending habits, creating a budget that tracks your expenses as well as your income and looking at your end goal. It can seem like a daunting task at first but it can be made easy by going slow. 

First, track your expenses for 1 - 3 months to have an idea of what you spend on a monthly basis. You can request bank statements and review old receipts to help with this process. Once you establish your expenses you can look at the areas where you might be overspending and find ways to cut back. For instance, instead of having takeout or buying lunch several days per week, prepare more meals at home. Doing this will help when creating your budget as you’ll have an overview of your spending. 

Be realistic when creating your budget. One big mistake that people often make when creating a budget is to blindly set figures that are not achievable. Now that you know how much you actually have been spending and how you can cut back, you can create a realistic limit for yourself. If you aren’t in major debt you might not have to make drastic changes to your lifestyle but rather make these changes over time. This will make it easier for you to form and stick with theses better spending habits. 

If you find that you are still having challenges creating your budget or assessing your finances you can reach out to a financial advisor from your bank. 

How to Save

The long-term goal of learning good money management is usually to have more savings. Whether you’re saving towards yours or your child’s education, contributing to your retirement plan or just creating an emergency fund, saving is a crucial part of ‘adulting’. 

In theory, saving sounds easy, right? But in practice, you find that it comes with many challenges. Once you’ve followed our earlier steps to develop better money management habits, you will be on your way to being able to properly save. 

Your first and most important step is to start. 

There really is no right time to begin - you don’t have to wait until payday or until the start of a new month. Once you make the decision look for simple steps to take such as reducing expenses. This can be done by consolidating any debts you have, eliminating unnecessary spends or finding inexpensive alternatives to other expenses. 

If you’re creating an emergency fund you can set up an automatic withdrawal with your bank to have a set amount of money be removed from your account on a specific date. This money can be put in a fixed account to limit the chance of you cashing out before you absolutely need to. 

If you find that you cannot realistically reduce your expenses enough to save then you might have to find new ways to supplement your income such as taking on another job or jumping into a side hustle

We hope with these tips 2020 will be your year of financial success!