We’re about a month into 2023. How are your New Year’s resolutions looking so far?
Whether you made goals around family time, fitness, home renovations, career progress, or whatever is most important to you, now is a good time to check in and make sure your focus is in the right place.
Financial goals are a common resolution, and if you’re still feeling the pinch from spending during the holidays, we wanted to share some changes you can make to enjoy financial wellness in 2023.
Saving money can unlock your time and offer you more options and flexibility throughout your life. The problem for some is that they don’t know how much they should be saving or where they should put those savings to maximize returns. Budgeting and expense tracking make for a great starting point, helping you put an actual dollar figure on your goals and timeline. Other aspects to consider are: getting out of debt, automating your savings with automatic withdrawals from every paycheck, adding spending alerts and limits to your credit cards, and auditing your expenses each month. You can start at a high level and get more into details as you go on, if you find a closer focus is something that helps you reach your savings goals.
It sounds obvious—of course you’ll have more money if you spend less of it. But the key to this is identifying the areas of spending that are essential compared to those you could live without. Similar to maximizing your savings, reducing spending involves getting a good idea of where your money is going.
Make a list of your essential expenses each month like your rent or mortgage, car payment, and groceries. That will show you how much expendable income you have and help you see where you’re spending the rest of your money. With that second list of “fun spending,” you can start to make cuts and get your spending in check.
Optimize Energy Efficiency
One of the costs you have some control over is energy costs, whether that’s your electric bill at home or your monthly gas expenses. Take a look at your appliances—are they working properly and using energy efficiently?
For example, AprilAire Whole-House Dehumidifiers are rated ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient 2022 (Models E080, E100, and E130). Products like this perform better, keeping you more comfortable while also saving you money on electricity. A dehumidifier can especially save you money in the hot, humid summer months, as a dehumidifier reduces the burden on your air conditioner.
The bigger your family gets, the higher your expenses grow. That’s a part of life and it’s well worth the investment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save money as you build a life with your entire family.
Start by encouraging your family members to join in on your saving efforts, and work together to find ways to reduce your expenses. For example, you could cook meals at home instead of eating out, or start a family savings account to save for future vacations or large purchases. Find the areas that mean the most to your family and invest in those while you trim back spending in other, nonessential areas.
No matter how big your family is, entertainment expenses can add up quickly. Sporting events, concerts, and air travel seem like a major investment, but with enough exploration and prior planning, you can find ways to keep these costs under control.
One of the best ways to save money on entertainment is to find free or low-cost activities to do together as a family. Find a new hike near your home, have a picnic in a local park, or visit a local museum. And don’t forget one of the best free resources of all: libraries. Whether they’re big or small, libraries offer so many ways to have fun, like books, movies, video games, events, and more. Or if your family is handy, try making a little free library and setting it up in your neighborhood.
One area of entertainment costs where you can likely cut some spending is your collection of streaming subscriptions. It seems like every media company has a separate streaming service now, and the costs can add up just like cable subscriptions used to. To minimize spending, try picking just one or two streaming services to subscribe to at a time. You can always share accounts with friends and family to diversify your entertainment options.