You know I’m a grandmother, right?
Back in the 70s, when I was in grade school, Alka-Seltzer ran a Hall of Fame commercial that went something like this: a middle aged, pyjama-clad man sits slouched over on the edge of his bed, suffering from indigestion. Looking miserable, he grumbles “I can’t believe I ate that whole thing. I can’t believe I ate that whole thing.” From under the blankets on her side of the bed, the man’s wife calls out (more annoyed than compassionate) “take two alka-seltzer.”
And wouldn’t you know it?! Presto!
As I sat down to write this newsletter, my feeling was “I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of November. I can’t believe the year’s almost over.”
Reality check: there are only 45 days left until 2018.
Which means, that whether you’re feeling a bit of money indigestion or whether you’re on track to finish 2017 financially strong, it’s time to get effervescent and work on some bold money saving strategies that will leave you smiling with relief on January 1st. In short let’s look at five ways to better your money in 2018.
5 ways to better your money in 2018
Being good with money is about more than just making ends meet. Rather than living pay check to pay check, you can make your life easier with just a little bit knowledge about financial skills. Whether it’s simplified money saving tips or lessons on how to save money for the future, these money saving tips will help you to improve your financial habits.
Ready to get started?
If you’re looking at ways to increase your income or bring in fast cash, these ideas that can get you started:
- Send reminders to clients with unpaid invoices or call them on the phone.
- Work overtime at your current job.
- Start a side hustle.
- Work a seasonal job like I did as a teenager, working in an electronics store.
- Sell things you no longer need, like my client who’s selling her golf clubs.
- Brainstorm 25 more ways you can bring in fast cash and go for it!
Create a plan
It always helps to be mindful of your expenses and create a plan to manage finances. Between celebrations and holidays, kids home from school, entertainment, gifts, travel, and vacations, expenses can quickly sky rocket. Create a Spending Plan that can help you keep track of your finances, especially the expected expenses during the next 6 weeks. Tweak the plan by reducing spending and increasing income until you’re spending less than you’re earning.
Contribute to your retirement plan
Maximize contributions to your pension/retirement plan. This is a great way to reduce your tax bill: you avoid paying income taxes today, deferring the payments to your retirement years. Speak with your accountant or the HR Department at your place of employment to find you what you need to do. Don’t wait until December 29th. Pick up the phone now.
Get that tax benefit
Make charitable donations before year end to benefit from a deduction on your 2017 tax obligation. This is a wonderful way to support causes that are meaningful to you, give to others who are less fortunate than you are, and reduce your taxes. All at same time. Speak to your accountant to clarify your next steps. A tax benefit is also a way to save money.
Start planning for 2018
Start planning for 2018. Although December can get busy, setting aside time to plan ahead helps you stay in control. I recommend that you map out the one-off and irregular expenses that you’re likely to have during the year. For example, we’ll be celebrating our son’s Bar Mitzvah in February; we pay home owner’s insurance in March, April and May; and, Pesach (Passover) starts in March this year. Our irregular expenses are heavily weighted to the first half of 2018. We need to make sure there’s cash in the bank to cover them.
If you still struggle with money, remember that being good with money takes practice. It can seem difficult at the start when you want to plan ahead and make good financial decisions. But the more you incorporate healthy money habits into your life, the easier it is to improve your money story.
So, what are your ways to better your money in 2018?