Business, Career, Personal Finance

How to improve your finances in 2021: 6 smart strategies

Grow your finances

We outline 6 clever and easy strategies to improve your finances this year, including smart ways to earn more and save more, plus how to make more of what you already have.

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Call it a resolution or the beginnings of a new lifestyle change. Either way, many people kick off the new year with a goal to do better — financially.

Whether you decide to rein in your spending, pay down any debt, or grow your money, the feeling of a fresh start may be just what you need to implement some changes that will boost your financial bottom line. Could a change do your money good? Grab a pen. You might want to take some notes.

Improve your finances with these 6 smart strategies

1. Overcome a Fear of Investing

Misconceptions hold many people back from investing. In truth, investing may be within your reach more than you think. For novice investors, the first step is to do some light research and then contact a financial advisor who can help craft a strategy and guide your investment journey. It’s never too early or late to expand your money management and improve your finances by putting your money to work. Make 2021 the year you start to grow your wealth!

2. Ignore the Joneses 

Trying to keep up with the lives and purchases of family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and everyone you follow on social media can exhaust your credit card and land you in debt. It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting more —something bigger and better — but at what cost? Could you put more toward retirement or cushion your savings by cutting back on the luxurious, big splurges and fancy upgrades? Don’t let what others have (and show off) dictate how you spend your hard-earned money.

3. Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Have you ever spent money or paid for something because you felt obligated? Maybe in the past you’ve apprehensively dropped some serious dough on a pricey destination wedding or agreed to a lavish night out with friends. To decline or say “no” to costly invitations can be both awkward and difficult, because who wants to turn down a good time? But if your bank account is advising you to start passing on certain engagements, you may need to start getting used to saying “no.” Plus, you can always suggest a more affordable alternative.

4. Reboot Your Date Nights

Now that many spouses are working from home together and parents are juggling at-home learning, couples are falling into a routine lacking real day-to-day connection. This is why it’s especially important right now to set aside some time for a romantic evening with your partner. Planning an at-home date night is not only ideal for those who prefer to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic but it’s also cost-effective. In that vein, create a special menu and cook dinner together. You can also help set the mood with candles and music and then slip into something more comfortable, like a sexy bodysuit, to see where the night takes you.

5. Establish NQA Funds

“If I earn money, I deserve to enjoy it!” There’s no arguing with that statement; you should enjoy your money — in moderation and sensibly. In your budget, designate a set amount of fun money in individual NQA (no questions asked) categories. An established NQA budget helps prevent you (and with whom you share your budget) from overspending on frivolous or expensive items. Let’s say you don’t use all of your NQA funds for the month. Then carry over what remains or choose to save the money each month for a bigger purchase down the road.

6. Embrace an Entrepreneurial Spirit 

Sometimes, in order to save more, you need to earn more. Starting a self-employed side hustle not only provides you another stream of income but it can also become a rewarding job. Making jewelry to sell on Etsy, writing about your passion on a blog, and telling stories on YouTube are all ways to earn some extra bucks while doing something you love.

Shift Your Strategy to Overhaul Your Finances

It’s small shifts and baby steps like these that can make a huge overall difference in your financial life. Sometimes, it seems like we have to do something drastic to correct a bad habit, reach a goal, or clean up some money messiness. However, know that you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to strengthen your financial situation, because small changes can be effective, too.