Tips for the New Year
Do you spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about money and personal finance? Money stress can really wear on you, making it hard to enjoy life the way you deserve. Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce money stress in the New Year.
Write down your money goals.
Sometimes, money stress comes from the constant evaluation and re-evaluation of your financial goals. If you get those goals out of your head and onto paper, then you can know they are safe — you won't forget them. This is not to say you should not remain focused on your money goals. But by writing them down on paper, you are giving yourself permission to revisit and think about them on your own schedule, and not just when your mind decides to wander and worry.
Add to your emergency fund.
Most experts recommend having three to six months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund. If your emergency fund is on the smaller side, plan to build it up a little at the start of the New Year. Even having an extra $1,000 or $2,000 set aside will help put your mind at ease. You don't have to stress about emergencies if you know you have the money to cover them.
Automate your savings.
Do you always feel money stress at the end of the month when you realize you've once again spent all of your money before contributing to savings? Talk to your human resources department at work, and arrange to have a portion of every paycheck direct deposited into your savings account. You're far less likely to spend it if it never hits your checking account.
Set up finance meetings with your partner.
If you are married or in a serious relationship in which you share finances, start having monthly finance meetings with your partner. If you have kids, you can even include them in the meetings. A lot of money stress comes from miscommunication with partners and family members. Monthly meetings give you a chance to make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the budget, family savings goals, and the like.
Give each person a chance to talk in the meeting, and listen to what everyone has to say. These meetings will also foster a general sense of openness on the topic of money, which can reduce money stress throughout the year.
Put important bills on auto-pay.
Having to remember to pay bills on time is a big source of stress for many people. Reduce money stress by putting recurring bills—like your mortgage, phone bill, and gas bill—on auto-pay. You won't have to worry about paying late fees ever again, and you won't wake up at midnight wondering, "Did I pay the mortgage?"
Pursue that side hustle.
If you only have one source of income, make this the year you develop a second one. Pursue that side hustle you've been dreaming of chasing. Start a small business, or take a side job in an industry you love. Having a second source of income will make the worry of losing your primary source of income so much less profound. You'll know that, even if you do lose your main job, you will still have some money coming in.
Make 2021 the year you reduce money stress with the simple tips above. Little things like putting bills on auto-pay and direct depositing part of your paycheck into savings can take the daily pressure off and give you room to breathe.