We all have resolutions to do better with our personal finances each year, but often fall short. That’s why this year I’m creating the Centsible Money Makeover series. It’s not just for you though, I’ll be participating too!
Throughout the next year I’ll be sharing some ways you can make a big difference in your finances in 2013. Each month will have a different focus, and I’ll share actionable steps you (and I) can take to improve our finances in 2013.
To start it’s a great time to re-evaluate your budget by setting up a year-long budget for 2013, and evaluating your current debt.
Step 1: Evaluate last year’s spending.
Pull your monthly statements for the past year on all credit cards and debit cards to give you an idea of what you spent last year. This is probably the most time-consuming part. Whether you create you own spreadsheet or use a site like Mint.com you will be looking back at 2012, but also setting up a system you can use for 2013. Personally I prefer good old pen and paper, but then I like math. 😉
Step 2: Look for patterns.
Do you spend more in certain months? Did you overspend over the holidays? Figure out the ‘weak’ spots in your budget and plan ahead for them. For instance you can set up a holiday savings account at your bank and save a little each month for the holidays.
Step 3: Create a list of debts.
Creating a list of your debts can seem scary but it’s also the best way to get a handle on the situation. Use this free Printable Debt List to motivate you to do more to get rid of your debt whether it’s be more conscious of your grocery spending or picking up a side gig to bring in more money.
The list includes some tips for paying off debt which have helped us pay off thousands in debt!
Step 4: Keep track of all your bills in one place.
Next you can print out this free Printable Bill Checklist. Print out 12 of these and create a binder with your budget, a list of debts, and your budget so you can easily keep track of all the bills you have to pay, your spending and more in one place.
Step 5: Create a budget.
If you’re not sure where to start use this post will teach you how to budget. The key is setting a realistic budget. Consider cutting back by 5% a month or trimming $100 off your monthly budget each month.
Step 6: Evaluate and improve.
It’s not a quick process which is why I’ll break it down for you with one post a month. Each month we’ll have a different list of tasks you can tackle to help you improve your finances. Some will be easy, while others will require some hard work. Don’t worry though, I’m going along with this journey too, so we can stay accountable together.
If you’re living on one income you can see One Income Living Resources here including steps that are recommended for living on less.
Coming soon I’ll have a full page of resources as well as listing each month’s steps as we tackle them. Stay tuned!
Will you join me?