Know what’s a huge impediment to wellbeing in general? A lack of direction, focus, and intentionality. You want to get in shape, but you haven’t made exercise a daily habit. You want to start a new hobby or learn an instrument, but you don’t sit down every day and put in the work. You are too distracted, too busy, too content waiting for inspiration to strike. Sound familiar?
The same impediment can disrupt your financial wellbeing, but it doesn’t have to. Direction, focus, and intentionality with your finances—these things are within your control.
Ready to make a New Year’s financial resolution? Kick one costly habit in 2024.
If you budget, you know your income and your fixed expenses. Those things are easy to track. What’s not easy to track—or rather what is easy to lose track of, or what is easy to disregard—are your variable expenses, things like gas, groceries, shopping, and entertainment.
Figure out which costly habit is draining your account and robbing your peace of mind. It might be your penchant for impulse buying. It might be your habit of eating out. It might be driving back home every weekend from college. Or maybe you intend to treat yourself to a coffee and pastry from the local gas station on your way to or from work once a week, but you’re stopping 2-3 times per week or even every day. Or you signed up for a free month of a streaming service six months ago and have been paying for it for five.
Where to start? Analyze the last three months of your bank and credit card statements. Chances are you’ll find some surprises there, maybe even some patterns.
After you’ve identified one leak, it’s time to get back to the budgeting basics. For 2024, choose one costly habit and kick it. If you need a budgeting refresher, check out our Budgeting for Beginners: How to Get Started blog post.
Get off to a good start in 2024. Disciplined spending feels good, and the payoff can be substantial.