The new year is upon us, which means many people are thinking about how they can act healthier in the next 12 months, including financial health. Whether you want to spend less money in 2021 or you want to earn more or invest better, we can help you make smart decisions about how to handle your money so that you can get the most out of it. No matter what your income is, there are ways to spend and save strategically so that you can better afford your life and plan for the future. Here are a few tips to get you started!

1. Set Financial Goals

The best way to reach your goals is to establish them in the first place. It’s one thing to dream about what you would do if you had more money, and it’s quite another to figure out how much that thing would cost and how much you need to put away each month to make that dream a reality. Whether you are looking to buy a home, go on a vacation, or something else, you can make those goals attainable by setting a concrete plan towards reaching them. Be as specific as possible with numbers and timelines so you can build toward your goal one actual dollar at a time.

2. Pay Off Smaller Debts First

If you have multiple areas of debt to pay off, the most strategic move is to go after the smaller ones first. Knock them off as soon as you can so that you don’t have them weighing you down when it’s time to conquer the larger debts. You will also feel a sense of success and accomplishment each time you get rid of debt, and that good feeling will propel you to work on the areas of debt that are more difficult to overcome.

3. Save, Save, Save

It is never too late or too early to start saving. You may have heard some iteration of that idea over the course of your life, and it’s time to take it to heart. The earlier you start saving the better because you have more time to earn interest on what you have put away, but if you haven’t set up a savings or retirement account until now, it’s definitely a good idea to seize the moment and do so. See if your employer has a matching program, which will help the amount you put away grow quicker.

4. Stick to a Budget

Creating a budget–and sticking to it–is key to being able to afford your life and maintaining financial health. The formula is simple: calculate how much money comes in with how much you need to spend each month on fixed or predictable living expenses like rent/mortgage, food, electricity, gas, and so on. Then see how much money you have left over and put some in savings and some towards spending on extraneous items.  

5. Stay Positive

Although you may feel like you’ll never have enough money to do X, it’s important not to give in to this fatalistic mindset. With some “can do” attitude, you will be much better able to face your goals and figure out a way to make them possible than if you give up before you even begin. Many goals that seem too big to achieve are actually achievable if you work at them and take things slow. Financial health may take time, but it’s within your reach!

At DeSantis, Kiefer, Shall, & Sarcone, we can work with you to help you follow the best financial strategies for your own personal goals and needs. No matter what your financial situation right now, we can help you take it to a better, healthier place. Make this year the year that you feel financially secure and fulfilled.