If you’re in the process of setting new goals and objectives for yourself, perhaps putting a few more bucks into your bank account could be one more addition to your New Year’s resolutions.
But what kind of financial goals should you have anyway? We’ve put together a list of 20 financial goals for 2024, from improving your budget to investing your hard-earned money.
Get a handful of personal finance tips from our video:
1. Start saving
Saving money requires dedication and persistence. People keep promising themselves that they’ll start saving when they have enough money, but this approach usually doesn’t work. Suffice it to say, you must make it a goal to start saving as of today. Even if you only have a dollar left at the end of the week, save it, which will lead you down the road to successful financial planning.
2. Create a budget
One of the best ways to save money is to create and stick to a budget. List all your expenses for each month and determine where you can cut back. Some costs are essential, but reducing your spending on your daily coffee order, take-outs and weekly shopping sprees can easily help you achieve your money goals.
3. Control impulse buying
When you go shopping, control the urge to spend. It can be challenging, but you should not make purchases based on your impulses and emotions. Instead, ask yourself if you need the item.
For example, if you already have four pairs of shoes at home, do you need a fifth pair? Do you need the latest iPhone when the one you have works just fine? By avoiding impulse buying and by spending money on essential needs only, you can save a ton of money.
4. Invest in real estate
Real estate prices continue to increase, making it one of the safest investments in the long run. No one wants to pay rent their whole life. Therefore, it might be a good idea to start planning to buy your property. By saving for your home, you’ll make a small down payment when the right property comes along.
If you can’t afford a physical property, you should consider investing in real estate investment trusts, which are income-producing commercial and residential property funds.
5. Ease up on your credit card
A major reason people are in debt is that they have become too dependent on their credit cards. People often make purchases that aren’t even necessary simply because they know they can use their card to do it.
A good financial goal for you is to cut down on your credit card usage. If you have two credit cards, discard one. If you have several credit cards, then consider discarding all but two. It’s imperative to use your credit card sparingly and begin buying with the cash you have, which will allow you to monitor how you’re spending your money.
6. Pay off your debt
Some people can’t save money because they’re in perpetual debt, often paying off loans with high-interest rates. If this is the situation that you’re in, maybe consider consolidating all your debt and paying it off with monthly payments. The sooner you pay off your debt, the faster you can start putting money on the side for other things.
7. Open a savings account
Most people underestimate the power of a savings account because the interest rate may seem too low. Nevertheless, it’s still worth putting your money in a savings account, as this will motivate you to save more, and it will also help you ensure that a certain amount remains aside for emergencies.
8. Educate yourself on financial matters
You must invest in your financial literacy. Lucky for you, there are plenty of free online courses and tutorials that offer insightful information on the best ways to save money.
If you plan on investing, you should know where and how to invest. Improving your knowledge, be it reading online blogs or participating in webinars, will enable you to make informed financial decisions.
9. Avoid subscription-based ventures
People sign up for monthly subscriptions and services without even thinking how much these memberships and subscriptions cost them annually.
Evaluate where and how many of these you have going on. If you have a gym membership, consider using it optimally. If you have entertainment subscriptions, filter out the ones you use and those you don’t. Put simply, it’s important to avoid signing up for extra services you don’t use every day — think before you hit that “Subscribe” button!
10. Watch the markets
Should you watch CNBC every day? What about subscribing to The Wall Street Journal? While you don’t need to hit the refresh button on Bloomberg all day long, it’s a good idea to monitor financial markets so you know what to expect, whether it’s inflation or a crash in the stock market.
11. Get the right insurance plans
We live in an unpredictable world. Having the right insurance plans is a great way to be prepared for an unforeseeable event. Today, you can obtain insurance for everything you can think of, including travel, health, home and pets. While you should not buy everything, you can always opt for what fits your lifestyle.
12. Find a side hustle
One of the best ways to increase your income is through a side gig. If you’re short on ideas, here are some options:
- Teach students online
- Work part time as a server over the weekends
- Drive an Uber during the evenings or weekends
- Work as a freelancer
While you may not become rich from these side hustles, you’ll be able to earn some extra cash, which will certainly come in handy.
13. Invest your money
If you want your money to grow, you need to start investing.
That said, you need to go slow and do thorough research about the investment before taking further steps. While stocks and bonds offer good returns, there is also a risk of losing money. Hence, it would be prudent to work with a reputable investor and put in small amounts of money initially.
You need to be patient as the world of investing can be tempting, but it also has risks if you don’t do it properly.
14. Save for retirement
The sooner you start saving for your retirement, the better your future self will be. While seniors do receive Social Security benefits, many times, the money is not sufficient to sustain all your expenses. Therefore, it’s critical to account for this factor and start planning for your retirement as soon as possible.
15. Improve your credit score
If you plan to buy a property or put the down payment, you also need to improve your credit score. This will help you get a good mortgage rate and make your home more affordable and manageable for you.
16. Try a money-saving challenge
Starting the new year with a savings challenge can be both motivating and fun. Even better, you could tie in another New Year’s resolution with your money-saving efforts for a more rewarding experience.
For example, if you’re starting a weight loss journey, you could put away a small amount of money for every pound of bodyweight lost. An additional incentive could really help you put away extra money and achieve your long-term financial goals.
17. Create an emergency fund
Life is full of surprises, some good and some bad. An emergency fund can help you handle unexpected events or expenses, such as job loss or high medical bills.
Though putting money away each month can be hard with rising inflation, creating a spending plan and assessing your expenses can help you get started.
18. Pay off your credit card debt
Paying off your credit card debt can appear stressful and complicated when you don’t know where to begin. However, you can start by setting realistic goals, even if that’s covering the minimum payment for the near future. Understanding why the debt happened in the first place is also necessary when you’re looking to avoid repeating similar mistakes.
19. Read more personal finance books
If you’re new to setting financial goals, reading some personal finance books for beginners might be good. With knowledge and insights from finance experts, you’ll be able to create actionable plans to save money and pay off debt or even get started with investing.
Whether you want to set and crush some short-term financial goals or improve your financial situation in the long run, there are countless books that can help.
20. Apply for a better-paying job
If you check your credit card and bank statements and find no unnecessary expenses to cut back on, then you may want to consider looking for a new job. While this may not be possible right away, you can do some research and start planning ahead. Earning additional professional qualifications, for example, could open new doors and enable you to earn extra income in the near future.
’Tis the season when many households begin to produce their financial goals for the upcoming calendar year. Individuals and families always want to scrounge up a few extra pennies to put towards retirement, the kids’ tuition or a down payment for a new house.
Whatever your primary life goals are, they will only be achieved by also outlining your financial goals. It’s tough to manage your nickels and dimes when you lead a busy life, but by planning your spending and cutting down on a few expenses, you can yield tremendous results and achieve all your financial goals.
So, with these personal finance tips, perhaps you can celebrate the end of 2024 with a sweetened bank account!
What are your financial goals for the year ahead? Let us know in the comments section below!
Originally published on December 17, 2021. Updated by Electra Michaelidou.