Can someone please explain to me how it’s already the middle of November? I feel like, for every passing birthday, the Big Guy Upstairs turns the MPH up on my life speedometer, and if it’s this bad at 30, I can only imagine what 70 feels like. Woof.
Good news, though: While there are fewer than 50 days left in the year, you still have PLENTY of time to hit some of those money resolutions you set back in January…even if you’ve procrastinated on starting them until now. (Or maybe even forgot about them.)
If one of your goals was to make sure you are in a better money situation by the time that New Year’s ball drops, then CONGRATS! You’ve found yourself in the right place.
I’ve detailed out 10 money goals for you to conquer below, and most of them can be done in a matter of 15 minutes or less, which means that you should be able to tackle all (if not most) during a full binge session of Stranger Things. Go ahead and knock one or two out of your choosing. Or light a fire under your booty and go for all 10. I’m all for with ending the year strong.
1. Write Down Your Goal
Ask yourself this one question: What do you really want?
Life does a great job of sidetracking us with all of the little fires we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis, and if you don’t take the time to define your goal, you’re going to continue to allow them to distract you.
Have a little “Come to Jesus” meeting with yourself, find what your dream life consists of, and make an actionable goal to get there. You got this, girl.
Time: 5 – 15 Minutes
2. Protect Your Credit
Listen, if someone steals your identity, it means they could take out a credit card in your name and go to town at Nordstrom. Fun for them. Not for you.
To protect yourself against this occurring, freeze your credit with each of the three credit bureaus. This blocks any lenders from accessing your credit report, and as most require this to issue a loan, it will prevent the identity thief from ever getting past the application process.
Total Time: 15 Minutes
3. Create a Budget
Here’s how simple I’m going to make this for you: go here to download my FREE budget calculator, and start determining where you want YOUR MONEY to go.
Bonus: If you’re completely new to this (or even if you aren’t) and want me to review, just send me an email explaining your overall money goal with your budget attached, and I’ll give you suggestions on how to improve. All for free.
Total Time: 15-30 Minutes
4. Add More to Your 401(k)
Increase your 401(k) contributions by 1%. Every. Single. Year.
Including this one — no skipping.
Total Time: 5 Minutes
5. Set Up an Auto-Transfer
Do you want to know how I save over 40% of my income? By automating my savings.
Just like most other people out there, I like nice things, and I know if that money sits in my bank account, I could potentially use it on things that aren’t serving my goals — like all those 17 Hearth & Hand items sitting in my Target shopping cart.
Damn it, Chip and Joanna. You make it so hard to say no. (But don’t worry, I did. For now.)
Total Time: 15 – 30 Minutes
6. Majorly Save on Health Insurance
It’s open enrollment time, meaning that you get to reevaluate if your health insurance plan is right for you.
If you are young and relatively healthy, look into whether or not your company offers an HSA option — these high deductible plans do mean that if s#$% hits the fan, you could be out of more pocket dough, but they cost WAY less per month. And hey, if you have an emergency fund, you can cover that deductible anyway, right?
Total Time: 30 Minutes – 1 Hour
7. Open a Roth IRA
Already contributing up to the match in your 401(k) or don’t have access to one? Then open a Roth IRA.
This is another retirement savings program the government offers to help you save on your taxes, but instead of allowing you to contribute pre-tax dollars (like a traditional IRA or most 401(k)s), you contribute post-tax dollars and everything you earn from there out is tax-free. How’s that for some diversification?
Total Time: 10-15 Minutes
8. Prepare Your Debt Strategy
If you want to seriously tackle debt, you can’t just pay the minimums and haphazardly throw any extra cash you come across at whatever loan you feel like that day.
Significant gains are made when you develop a strategy and implement it, and that’s just what you need to do. Read up on the debt snowball or avalanche method, choose one, and chart out your personalized plan for fiercely attacking that debt. And then actually follow it.
Total Time: 30 Minutes – 1 Hour
9. Ask for a Raise
Been killing it at work but have had no extra money come your way? I’m not surprised.
Most managers assume you’re happy with the salary you are currently at, and if you don’t voice otherwise, they will continue to think this. So if you’ve been doing a great job, have taken on extra responsibilities, or feel you’re being underpaid for your position, go ask for what you deserve. Now.
Total Time: 2 Weeks
I’ve found that the only way to keep bettering myself and my situation is to never stop learning. You don’t have to become an expert, but even just the smallest tidbits can have an enormous impact on your money.
Go subscribe to your favorite blog’s newsletter, download a money-centric (& fun!) podcast, or check out a book from your library (I’m currently reading “Ask for It,” and it’s STUNNING). Whatever you can do to make you more intelligent about your money now will always put you leaps and bounds ahead of where you were a year ago.
Total Time: 5 – 15 Minutes
Remember, even baby steps are steps of progress, so don’t think you have to take a gigantic leap for you to have achieved your resolution. Those little moves count, too.
Brittney is a CPA in Indianapolis who loves any & all carbs and in her spare time runs the blog Britt & the Benjamins, which is focused on helping people, especially women, achieve financial independence and kill it in their careers.
Image via Unsplash