Plus you HAD to keep Spotify Premium so you could listen to every single song in proper order when Tay Tays new album dropped. And you needed Amazon Prime to see what all the fuss was with that super expensive Lord of the Rings show (which me and my mate fondly call “Shouty Elves”).
They were all great ideas… at the time.
But now you’re staring down the fast approach of December and Christmas wondering how the heck you’re gonna buy gifts for your nearest and dearest. It feels too damn hard to create healthy spending habits right now, so it’s probably best to start with the New Year, right?
New Years resolutions suck
There’s nothing quite like the beginning of a new year to commit to making a positive change for yourself. Except that most people really suck at sticking to their resolutions.
More often than not, it’s because the resolutions we set are either:
Too vague (“I wanna dance more”)
Too unrealistic (“I will start saving now and go on a luxury holiday in February!”)
Too damn hard to keep (“I will start intermittent fasting and become gluten-dairy-meat-sugar-free and only eat raw FODMAP food”)
Fun fact: the second most popular type of New Year’s resolution always involves personal finances! So how can you set goals and new habits around your money that actually work, and not cause you to give up and wallow in self-pity?
Here are our 5 ways you can ditch your money hangover and get your finances back on track.
1 / Look at your spending habits from the past year
Most good banking apps these days will give you a sense of what you’re spending your money on. If you can’t rely on that, it’s time to grab a coffee and sit down to crunch some numbers.
Yes. Really. Just do it. Knowing how much you’re spending roughly on takeout, groceries, utilities, entertainment, subscriptions, pets, clothes – anything and everything – will give you an idea of what’s going on with your money at a financial and emotional level.
Human beings are emotional creatures. Whether its comfort eating when you’re stressed, getting a dopamine hit from buying the latest smartphone, or treating yourself to clothes every month so you can stay on top of trends, your spending is very much tied to your mental state.
Categorise your spending, and check where most of your cash is going every month. Once you know where you’ve come from, you can figure out how to get where you want to go next. Which leads to…
2 / Break up with losers
Like bad Bumble dates, you need to dump the losers. The same goes for your finances.
Look at your spending habits and pick out the losers. You know what they are, the things you really don’t want or use. Are you forking out for something “just in case you need it”? Unless it’s insurance, dump its ass. Or, get savvy with it! If you and a mate want to, ahem, share a subscription service (or two), that’s extra dollars you can save every month.
We’re not saying you need to ditch food delivery for the whole year. Just don’t base your personality on it. Expand your horizons babe!
3 / Coordinate your diary and your cashflow
If you’ve got weddings, getaways with your besties, Friday night drinks every week, or work trips scheduled for the year ahead, get ready to map that against your income and savings.
Knowing how much you’ll need to have available to spend, or save, every month for these events and expenses will help you create a plan of attack. You’re a fierce general, surveying your battlefield of credit cards, birthday presents and manicures.
Figure out how much these things will cost you (even if it’s rough, be generous with your estimates). Then, add them up, divide them by 12, and plan out how much of your cashflow you need to set aside each month to meet these expenses.
4 / Get specific, but not impossible
Just doing those three steps is HEAPS. Seriously, if you can do those things, you’re already setting yourself up for a better year ahead.
But, if you’ve got some goals you want to achieve with your finances, and are determined to create habits and plans to achieve those goals, here’s how you’re going to do them.
You’re gonna make them:
S – specific! Need a new laptop that will help you rock your job? Know what kind you need to buy, how much it will cost you, and when you want to buy it by (and how much you need to set aside every month to reach that goal).
M – measurable! Open a separate savings account (that doesn’t charge you fees) that you can save your laptop money into. Better still, have the money automatically deposited into this account from your salary. That way, you can watch your balance grow every month, and get the warm and fuzzies from knowing you’re on your way to achieving your goal.
A – achievable! If you can’t afford to put aside more than a certain amount of money every month, don’t set yourself up for failure. Make sure your goal is actually achievable in the timeframe you’ve set, otherwise you need to adjust your goal, or your timeframe to make it work.
R – relevant/rewarding! There’s no point in working towards a goal you genuinely don’t care about. If you don’t care about it in the first place, you’re not going to do the work to get there. If getting the new laptop will make it easier for you to do your job, instead of swearing at your current laptop twice a day when it crashes and loses your work, buying a new laptop sounds like a rewarding and relevant goal!
T – time-bound and trackable! If you think you can just buy a new laptop one day in the future, but you’re not really sure when, you might be tempted to dip into your laptop savings to splash out on the odd thing here and there. Keep to a timeframe and you’ll be more likely to hang in there and stick your goal out until the end.
5 / Avoid future hangovers
If you’ve made it this far, you’re a total badass.
That means future-you is also going to be a total badass. So you need to take a little time to care for them now, instead of waiting until it’s too late. Like leftover curry, time creeps up on you.
One of the easiest, fastest things you can do right now for future-you is to take care of your superannuation. If super is something you typically ignore, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
A small change now, to ensure your superannuation is in the best fund for your circumstances, can have a huge impact in the years to come (thanks to compound interest).
When you request your free super savings report from Super Fierce, we look at your current super balance, the superannuation fund your money is in, and your income/superannuation contributions. We then crunch the numbers of almost every superannuation product in Australia (99.8% in fact), looking at their fees and performance over the last 20 years.
We then give you tailored, unbiased and independent advice on which funds are best for you – based on fees and performance, including ethical options. We’ll show you how much you’re on track to retire with if you stay in your current fund, and how much more you could get by switching to a better fund.
And if you’re too busy to switch your superannuation into that better fund, no stress. We can do the legwork for you.
Ditch the hangover for good
Want more help getting your finances fit for the new year? Have some burning questions about your life that only a financial expert can answer?
Our financial expert Mariam Mohammed and financial adviser Gemma Mitchell are hosting a free webinar ‘Tis the Season to be Fierce, where they will be covering how to:
/ Give gifts without breaking your bank
/ Avoiding (or working with) holiday debt
/ Make your savings werk for you
/ How to scale-up or scale-down your spending
Click this link to register and get yourself financially free, fit and fierce!