Are you looking to improve your finances in 2023? Whether you’re trying to save for a big purchase, pay off debt, or build an emergency fund, there are practical steps you can take to achieve your financial goals. In this article, we’ll share 10 strategies to help you improve your finances in the coming year. From creating a budget and building an emergency fund to increasing your income and automating your savings, these tips can help you take control of your finances and build a better future for yourself. Keep reading to learn more about how to improve your finances in 2023.
In this article, you’ll find 10 practical and actionable ways to improve your finances in 2023.
Set Financial Goals
One of the most important things you can do is set financial goals. Your goals are determined by whatever is important to you, and they help to give you direction and purpose.
My suggestion is to create a goal (or a couple of goals) for 2023 and then also create a few long-term goals as well.
Your goals should be specific and measurable, and should also have an end date or deadline.
For example, a good goal would be to save $5,000 by the end of 2023. And an example of a bad goal could be something vague like “reducing debt” (it’s not measurable and has no deadline).
Create a Budget
The budget is an important part of any financial plan. If you don’t already have a budget, now is a great time to create one.
Having an established personal or family budget is one of the best ways to get the most out of your money and reduce waste.
Creating a budget may sound intimidating if you have never done it before, but it’s not hard. I wrote an article, How to Create a Budget That Works, that shows exactly what you need to do.
Prioritize Debt Repayment
High-interest debt like credit cards and personal loans can significantly impede your financial progress. It’s essential to make paying off such debts a top priority. Additionally, tackle other debts like student loans, car loans, and medical bills with determination.
While mortgages typically come with lower interest rates and aren’t considered bad debt, deciding whether to pay off your mortgage early is a personal choice. There are benefits to it, despite the manageable interest rates. Consider different strategies like the debt snowball and debt avalanche to aggressively pay down your debt. You can learn more about these approaches in the Debt Snowball vs. Debt Avalanche article.
Identify Your Priorities
Budgeting is a topic that evokes negative feelings. Most people associate a budget with limiting how they can spend money.
In reality, a budget actually gives you control over how you spend your money, and it allows you to determine your own priorities.
While it is important to live within your means, you don’t need to be stingy and cut back in every single aspect of your life.
Creating a budget will help you to determine which expenses are the most important to you and your family (if you have a family). You can allocate your money according to your own priorities.
You don’t have to cut back in every area. The key is to know your priorities and save in the areas that don’t matter as much to you.
Capitalize on Free Money
Who doesn’t love free money? Surprisingly, there are legitimate ways to get your hands on some easy, no-strings-attached cash. I’ve sought out and compiled some of the best options on my Free Money page. Here are a couple of my favorites:
MissingMoney.com: This remarkable website helps you locate funds that rightfully belong to you. By simply entering your name and state (or a state where you previously lived), it scours for your unclaimed money. I personally reclaimed over $100 in less than five minutes using the site.
MobileXpression: An easy-to-use app that rewards you for allowing access to your mobile internet browsing history. It’s a straightforward way to pocket $50 per year in free money.
Declutter and Profit
Most of us, myself included, possess an excess of possessions that we neither use nor require. In 2023, consider embarking on a decluttering journey to rid yourself of unnecessary items. You can choose to sell valuable belongings, donate them, or discard them.
Decluttering not only helps cultivate a cost-conscious mindset but can also earn you some decent cash. Personally, my wife and I held yard sales for the past two years. Clearing out unneeded items felt liberating, and we made over $400 each year from things we no longer used.
Practice Delayed Gratification
Waiting before making non-essential purchases can significantly impact your financial well-being. Implementing this habit can save you a substantial amount of money over time. When you delay your buying decisions, you often realize that you don’t need the item you were contemplating.
Impulse buying can erode your finances, and it’s a habit worth breaking. Make a conscious effort this year to get into the routine of waiting before making purchases.
Maximize Credit Card Rewards
Credit cards can be a double-edged sword for your finances, but when managed wisely, they can yield significant rewards. If you handle your credit card responsibly by paying the balance in full each month, you can tap into these benefits.
Credit cards offer various rewards, including cashback, points, or miles. Start by acquiring an “everyday” cashback or rewards card that you can use for most purchases, typically earning around 2% cashback. For more savings, explore additional credit cards that offer higher cashback rates for specific spending categories. For instance, the Chase Freedom card provides 5% cashback on rotating quarterly categories.
Cultivate Passive Income Streams
For those aiming to retire early and rely on dividends, creating passive income streams should be a focal point. Passive income requires minimal effort to generate and can eventually replace your primary income.
Various opportunities exist for generating passive income. While delving into details here is beyond the scope, you can explore my article on passive income ideas for a plethora of options.
Commit to One Lifestyle Change
Small lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on your finances. These changes typically involve daily or recurring habits that consume money and might not be essential. Here are some examples to consider in 2023:
- Pack your lunch instead of eating out.
- Dine at home more frequently and reduce restaurant expenses.
- Cut back on daily visits to coffee shops like Starbucks.
- Consume less alcohol to save on both alcohol costs and potential health expenses.
- Opt for biking over driving when feasible.
- Swap theater nights for Netflix movie nights at home.
In conclusion, improving your finances in 2023 is not only achievable but also essential for securing your financial future. By setting clear financial goals, creating a budget, prioritizing debt repayment, and identifying your spending priorities, you can take control of your money. Don’t forget to capitalize on opportunities for free money, declutter and profit from items you no longer need, and practice delayed gratification to curb impulse spending. Maximize credit card rewards, explore passive income streams, and commit to at least one lifestyle change to boost your savings and financial well-being.
Q: What are the key benefits of setting specific and measurable financial goals?
A: Specific and measurable financial goals provide direction and purpose, making it easier to track progress and stay motivated.
Q: How can creating a budget help you make the most of your money?
A: Creating a budget ensures efficient money management, reduces waste, and helps align spending with financial priorities.
Q: What strategies can you use to prioritize and pay off high-interest debts?
A: Prioritize high-interest debt repayment to accelerate financial progress and free up funds for saving or investing.
Q: Why is it important to identify your spending priorities when budgeting?
A: Identifying spending priorities allows you to allocate your money to what matters most to you, optimizing your budget.
Q: What are some practical ways to capitalize on opportunities for free money in 2023?
A: You can reclaim unclaimed money through websites like MissingMoney.com and earn rewards with apps like MobileXpression. Decluttering and selling unused items can also bring in extra cash.