The new year is a time for renewal. Even if the shift into 2024 means little but a change in number, the philosophical impact of that new year can be enough to give serious motivation for personal change. In a year rife with economic uncertainty and personal financial difficulties, it would not be to this writer’s surprise that financial resolutions would be the first ones you write down for your new year’s resolution list. But which resolutions might be the best to start with, and how might you tackle them gainfully?
One of your primary financial resolutions might be to become debt-free in 2024. This is a noble resolution, and a particularly important one to prioritise if you are unfortunate enough to be in unsustainable debt. The first step to making this resolution come true would be to discover the extent of your debts, and then to separate them out in order of importance. For example, your mortgage is technically a form of debt, but should not be prioritised over shorter-term credit card liabilities.
If you have a number of shorter-term, higher-priority debts from different sources, you might find yourself being doubly punished by difficult payment terms and rising interest rates. Something like a debt consolidation loan can help you satisfy your debtors immediately, while bringing all of your liabilities into one place. This gives you the advantage of having a single minimum payment to make each month, and a clear end-point for your more pernicious debt burdens.
In order to find the money to pay your debts sooner, you will need to at some point engage with your monthly budget. This can be a resolution in itself, though, and may be a particularly important one for the impulsive shoppers out there – even if they don’t have much in the way of debt to save for. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction savings-wise, and a good budget can do just that.
First, you’ll need to establish what you didn’t like about your budgeting the year before. You might not even have a budget of any kind, and might be hoping to start from scratch. All financial journeys start with a single step, and here that step should be to put together some kind of spreadsheet or logbook for your spending.
Changing Financial Habits
Spreadsheeting your monthly expenditure is a key way to get on top of any bad financial habits you may have picked up over time – or even to discover some that you might not have noticed you picked up. Indiscriminate spending, even if on things you think might be useful at the time, is the enemy of financial security. With the empirical evidence to hand, you can now start doing the work necessary to bring that spending back under your control.