Do These Three Things to Financially Prepare for the New Year

If you're serious about making 2015 great you need to start financially preparing for the New Year now. Don't wait until January - you'll only end up taking two steps backward to take one step forward. Here's why.

I’m fully aware that the New Year is still more than a month away. I’m also a firm believer in planning ahead. And at this time of the year doing some financial check-ups is crucial.

I’ve got some big plans for 2015. In fact, 2015 is going to be EPIC!

Since I set goals on a monthly basis and already have my big picture in mind now, I’m more focused on making sure that I finish 2014 off on the right foot so that everything is smooth sailing once January rolls around.

Here are three things you can (and should) do now to financially prepare for the New Year.

Review All Your Financials

You should review all of your financial information right now. Why? Because not only is the New Year right around the corner but this is Christmas shopping season! The last thing I want you to do is going into debt buying Christmas gifts to set a goal to pay that debt off ten days later.

That is nothing more than self-sabotage – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Here are some things you should go over.

Budget – When is the last time you updated your budget? I did this at the end of October and its crazy how much my expense categories have changed since last year. Updating your budget and dare I say, tracking your expenses, will show you where your money is now going.

I know, I know tracking your expenses is a total pain. I’ll be honest, I hate doing it. But I’ve done it through November anyway just so I can be aware of what I’m spending too much money on. After all, I’ve got some pretty audacious goals I want to achieve and I’m guessing that you do as well!

Retirement – There’s still plenty of time left for you to sock some more money into your retirement account if you can afford to do so. It might be a really good idea to put more money in a tax advantaged account like a 401k or traditional IRA if you plan on owing a lot in income taxes.

Debt – If you have any type of consumer debt or student loans let’s get it in order. Make a spreadsheet listing all of your debts from smallest to largest so you know what you’re working with. If you don’t already have a debt pay off plan in place you can try the debt snowball method or the debt avalanche.

And if you’ve been steadily paying off your debt but haven’t tallied up all the balances in a while, now is the perfect time to see what kind of dent you’ve made and celebrate your progress. Hopefully seeing those numbers will give you a boost of motivation!

Cover Christmas with ONLY Cash

Please don’t go into debt over Christmas. Pretty please? I’m begging you.

The whole reason we have Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. I can’t remember where I heard this from or I’d link to it, but this quote really made me think – “We’ve turned Christmas into the most materialistic holiday to celebrate the least materialistic man who ever walked this Earth.” Ironic, right?

I’m not saying don’t buy anything for anyone, but to work with the money you have. Be creative with your gifts. If you can’t afford to give gifts then you can’t afford it. There is no shame everyone will forget in a couple weeks anyway.

I personally try to make my money stretch as far as possible. In addition to finding unique ways to fund Christmas I also like to find great deals. I personally check Hip2Save about every other day to see if there are any good deals on items on my list.

Set a budget. Make a list. Be creative. Avoid debt at all costs.

Create Goals Now

Once you’ve gotten your financials in order and have a clear picture of where you’re at you can map out where you want to go.

I normally don’t set New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, last year was the first time I have done it in years and I miserably failed at every single resolution I set. Luckily, I reassessed and set my goals on a monthly basis.

Did you know that only eight percent of people who set resolutions actually achieve them? Crazy, huh?

I personally feel like if you care about improving your life you wouldn’t wait until January to set goals. You’d do it now. Today.

Map out where you want to go and make a plan to get there. Then start acting on your plan. Don’t wait until January.

Don’t intentionally take two steps backward so that you can take one step forward in the New Year. It doesn’t matter if your goal is to get out of debt, lose weight, or anything else. If you wait until January to work on that goal you’ll only be self-sabotaging yourself!

Make 2015 Count!

If you want to make 2015 count don’t wait until January to get started. Start working through everything that needs to be done and go for your goals. This way when January rolls around you’ll already be one step ahead of the game.

Do you wait until January to set goals? Do you ever accomplish your New Year’s Resolutions?



Swagbucks Review (Plus How to Earn More Swagbucks with Little Effort)

Disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post. 

Swagbucks is a great way to earn some extra cash. I usually earn $5-$10 worth of gift cards per month through Swagbucks with very little effort. Today I'm sharing five simple strategies you can also use to easily earn more Swagbucks.

Are you looking to earn some extra spending money or gift cards in an easy way? Swagbucks can help!

I signed up for Swagbucks around three years ago and have since earned several gift cards. And the thing that I love most about Swagbucks it how easy it is. I promise, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it to earn rewards.

But first some of the basics.

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10 Small Business Ideas for Women

Looking for a small business idea? Here's a list of ten ideas as well as links to female entrepreneurs who are CRUSHING it in their respective business niche.

Are you looking to earn some extra money on the side or to potentially start your own business?

Today I want to highlight some of the best small business ideas for women to motivate you to take that first step!

That’s not to say that men can’t pursue these ideas as well, but for today we’re honoring all the female entrepreneurs.

This list contains the businesses that I’ve seen women do exceptionally well with. As an added little bonus I’ve included some amazing women you can learn from no matter which business best suits you!

(And remember these are women just like you and me. They’re not celebrities, they’re not part of a get rich quick scheme. If they can build up amazing businesses you can, too!)

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Why I Don’t Churn Credit Cards (And Why I Never Will)

Thinking of churning credit cards? You might want to think again. Here's why.

I open up my bloglovin feed every week to see what all of my favorite bloggers have been up to. I start scrolling through and bam, bam, bam – credit card churning posts. One after another and I can bet on the fact that I’ll see at least ten.

And I just. don’t. get. it.

Do you think people get ten free vacations a year from opening up one credit card? Not a chance. But that’s how these posts make it sound.

So today I thought I’d share my views on credit churning and why I think it’s an awful, horrible, no good idea for ninety five percent of the population. (Myself included.)

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Emergency Fund Essentials: 15+ Resources for Starting and Growing an Emergency Fund

Are you working on your emergency fund? This post attempts to cover everything you've ever wanting to know about emergency funds! It includes why you should start one, how much money you should save, how to get more from your budget, and even where to store your emergency fund savings!

You know how craft bloggers roundup these amazing posts full of themed ideas? I thought I’d try and do the same for the personal finance niche.

Since this style of roundup is new to me I wanted to start with the very basics: emergency fund essentials.

If you’re trying to get out of debt or just starting to work on improving your financial situation, this post is going to tell you everything you need to know about emergency funds. It includes why you should start an emergency fund, how much money you need, how to save, and where you should keep that money.

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Car Donations for Single Moms: How to Get a Free or Cheap Car

Would having a car change the life of you and your family? If so, here are some resources for car donations for single moms. Find a cheap or free car.

One of the toughest parts about being a single mom is surviving financially. This is especially true for new single moms.

I remember laying on the air mattress shared by me and my two daughters in my Dad’s spare bedroom just wondering what I was going to do. I had a car at the time but I didn’t have a home and the uncertainty was emotionally draining.

Part of getting back on your feet as a single mom is having the resources you need to get your life going again. And for many of us that means having a good car.

Here are resources for car donations for single moms.

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Why My Niche Site Died (And What I’d Do Differently Now)

niche site fail

Anne from Unique Gifter (awesome blog btw, you should check it out) asked me the other day if I had any recent updates on the Coon Hunters Club and, I don’t.

If you’re a new reader I’ll catch you up real quick. A year (or more) ago I had the bright idea to start a niche site that revolved around raccoon hunting. There was little to no competition, and based on the fact that my friends were obsessed with coon hunting and spent lots and lots of money on it, I thought it would be the perfect niche site.

A niche site is just a blog or website built around a specific topic. (In this instance, coon hunting) It’s run more like a business than most blogs are and the main focus is to make money (while also providing useful information.)

I ended up ranking in Google for multiple keywords fairly quickly and had decent traffic for a niche so small. But – I made virtually no money.

So today I wanted to go over my big mistakes and give you some advice that you can apply to your own niche or money making blog.

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