As you go into the New Year, you may be considering what sustainable financial changes you can make. The big picture is very blunt – earn more money or spend less! Of course, it is not as easy to earn more money, so the real focus can be on spending less. Spending less is actually more powerful than earning more, anyways – here is why. When you save $1, you are saving a full $1 into your pocket versus when you earn $1, you are likely putting about $0.50 – $0.80 into your pocket (depending on tax brackets). The first step to spending less is reviewing your budget and your cash flow. If your income fluctuates throughout the year, then this is something you should revisit a couple times a year. Having a solid understanding of your financial health is key.
Adjusting your investment portfolios exposure to less risk is another small change you could make with a big impact. If you lose 50% in a given time period, a 100% recovery is required to get you back to break-even. Even if your account falls 30%, you would still need a 43% recovery. A loss of 10% would only require a recovery of 11%. A less aggressive risk segmentation could save you significant recovery time.
Reviewing your homeowners insurance is another great opportunity to make some financial changes. Some companies base their deductible off what they think the value of your home is. Therefore, if they think your home is worth $500,000, the deductible could be $5,000. In addition, several companies add in automatic annual increases in the replacement value of your home, so you should check this periodically to ensure the amounts are reasonable.
The last tip is that day-to-day money savers are everywhere!
- Every store you check out at, suddenly you are now approved for a credit card, which you would not have thought about applying to but that line of credit is tempting.
- Stopping to get a coffee every morning on your way into work, without realizing how much these add up (Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha!)
- Scrolling social media and something grabs your attention, but you would not have purchased this product if you had not seen the advertisement.
- Signing up to free trial subscriptions without remembering to cancel them once the free period has ended. Take the time and discipline to cancel these!
- Having subscriptions to multiple services of the same type (cable TV, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+) can sure add up. Do you need all of these channels?
- Take-out and meal delivery services (DoorDash, GrubHub) are expensive. Take some time, relax, stay home, and cook up a fun meal.