Smart Money Habits to Embrace in the New Year

I do have some smart money habits. However, I’ve also gotten away from some of my best money habits. The New Year seems like the perfect time to review.

After all, it’s the time of year to think about habits. I’m thinking about what works that I want to keep doing. I’m thinking about what I did in the past that I should still be doing. I need to re-implement those habits. I am also thinking about what bad habits I’ve developed that I need to eliminate.

Let’s get the new year off to the best possible start. Here are the smart money habits I plan to embrace in the new year.

Schedule Money Days on The Calendar

If I could then I would avoid thinking about money. I would spend frivolously, saying I’d think about it later, and then try not to. Of course, that’s not a healthy approach to dealing with finances. Therefore, I have to schedule days to think about money. That way, I know that it’s under control. I’m dealing with it regularly.

The first of the month is my big money day. I set aside the whole day to attend to financial matters. Some months don’t require the whole day. However, some months definitely do, depending on what tasks are on the schedule. Those tasks include:

  • Invoicing and double-checking that payment has come through for previous invoices
  • Making sure all of the bills are paid and that I know the balance on any accounts
  • Budgeting for the year, the month, and week-by-week for the upcoming month
  • Cashing in rewards, miles, gift cards, etc.
  • Canceling outstanding subscriptions for unnecessary items
  • Dealing with taxes, loans, investments, and other big-picture items
  • Setting and reviewing financial goals for the year and upcoming month

In other words, I look backward and forwards in time. The goal is to feel settled about money in the present moment. Scheduling a monthly day to do this works for me. Other people may find that weekly or quarterly scheduling works best.

Read About Money

One of the best smart money habits I have is that I read about money issues regularly. I’ve let this slip in recent months, so I definitely want to get back on track. I’m a big book reader so that is where I get most of my info. However, blogs, magazines, and research articles are also good resources. I try to read a variety of content including:

  • Practical advice to learn new money issues, such as how to buy a house
  • Inspiring memoirs, stories, and lessons from people who are good with money
  • Tips, hacks, and tricks for saving and making money
  • Thoughts on frugal living, minimalism, and simplicity
  • Other people’s ideas for establishing smart money habits

People who aren’t big readers may find that podcasts and documentaries are a good way to learn more about money. There are also free online classes that touch on the topic. Last year I took one about the psychology of spending. Whatever your medium, gaining information about money helps empower you to make smart money choices all year long.

Emphasize Quality over Quantity

This year I’ve been thinking a lot about how to do more with less. Of course, I don’t want to make less money. However, I want to focus less on the money that I’m making. I want to buy fewer things, and I want the things that I do buy to be higher in quality. Whenever I’m about to make a purchase, I want to implement the habit of conscious consumption. I want my focus to be on the development of emotional wealth.

Other Smart Money Habits for the New Year

Those three things are the smart money habits that are right for me for the new year. However, there are so many other great habits that people can establish. You have to choose the ones that are right for you at this time in your life. Here are some more ideas:

  • Set and meet specific financial goals (pay off debt, buy a car, etc.)
  • Improve financial communication within relationships
  • Meet with a financial professional (such as a tax accountant or a financial planner)
  • Organize and streamline financial paperwork
  • Find and use the best apps for saving money
  • Improve FICO score
  • Embrace a “no spend” week each month this year
  • Open a new account (savings, IRA, etc.)
  • Review existing subscriptions and services with an eye on the money
  • Make and stick to a budget
  • Get a new job or find new methods of making money on the side

What are your biggest 2019 financial goals?

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