Finance Money Saving Tips

8 Strategies to Double Your Finances in 2015

8 Strategies to Double Your Finances in 2015
Written by Oana Schneider

One of the oldest – yet hardest to stick to traditions – is making resolutions for the New Year. According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology at the University of Scranton, a mere 8% of Americans who make resolutions for the New Year become successful at making them.

The top five resolutions for 2015 include:

  1. Losing weight
  2. Getting organized
  3. Spending less and saving more
  4. Enjoying life to the fullest
  5. Living a healthier lifestyle

A good 75% of those who do make resolutions stick to them during the first week, but slowly veer away from their list after two weeks, one month, two months, up to six months.

If your list of New Year’s resolutions include spending less and saving more – how can you stick to it? What are the ways that you can improve your finances for 2015 without falling under the trap of never finishing what you started? How can you set realistic financial goals for yourself?

Here, we will take a look at the importance of ironing out your finances at the onset of the year, and dish out specific tips on how you can accomplish such feat.

Why You Really Need to Double Your Finances This Year

First, why is the New Year as good a time as any to iron out your finances? If you have made resolutions in the past to stick to a budget, but you always overshot it, there’s no reason why you cannot do so now. The key to succeeding in sticking to an annual financial goal is to iron out your finances initially. From there, you can create a plan on how to be financially healthier, get the funds to save up for your college-bound kid’s tuition, start saving up for retirement, finally go to that well-earned vacation, or achieve whatever your finance-related goals are.

A good step to take would be calculate your net worth. Make a list of all your assets and liabilities. What are your existing debts? Do you have any assets which are sitting idly, that you can probably squeeze out profit from? Next, assess your spending habits. What is your monthly household budget like? If you are spending too much on utility bills, implement ways to save on electricity. That old refrigerator that you have may be eating up on your electrical consumption. Replace it with an energy-saving model which is more efficient, and you will realize huge financial savings by the end of the year despite a big initial investment.

You also need to take a closer look at how you are paying up your debts and monthly financial obligations. Starting from your credit card bills to your monthly insurance payments, all these should have an allotment based from the amount of income coming into the house. By having a clear, precise picture of what your finances are like at the onset of the year, you can make adjustments in specific aspects and successfully reach your financial goals.

Ways to Improve Your Finances

8 Strategies to Double Your Finances in 2015

Next, what are the specific ways that you can improve your finances for 2015? Take a look at the following tips:

Have a fresh start financially

Forget about what happened last year. Whether you suffered from a job loss which hampered your earning abilities, if you filed for bankruptcy or experienced anything negative that’s finances-related, 2015 gives you a fresh start on things. Do not fall into the trap of having that feeling of shame about how you spent your money in the past.

If you insist on dwelling on your past financial mistakes, you will never really move on from it. You can go ahead and reflect on the mistakes and bad financial decisions that you made in the past – but only to learn a lesson from it. Take those lessons to heart, vow not to make them again, and reward yourself with the chance to start over financially.

Set realistic financial goals

Next, it is very important for you to set realistic financial goals for yourself. As mentioned earlier, the start of the year is as good a time as any to assess your current financial situation. Write down those figures up to the decimal point. This will give you a precise picture of the finances that you will be working with for the rest of the year.

From the scenario that you have created, you can set realistic financial goals for yourself. However, do not hesitate to be overly ambitious about the things that you would like to achieve for the year. Be it an expensive trip to Europe, a sports car or a complete renovation of your tired old kitchen, these goals will give you the drive to earn more and work hard to increase your earnings for the rest of the year.

Take advantage of the convenience and savings from online shopping

When you sign up for an online shopping site, you can usually sign up for a newsletter that allows you to earn coupons or enjoy instant savings once you start filling up your shopping cart with goods. Take advantage of this, although it’s also a good idea to only stick with buying the items that you need or can afford to buy.

There are also luxury items that you can actually rent instead of buy. If you would not like to deprive yourself of the pleasure of wearing a designer dress for that corporate party, websites like Tradesy allow you to buy and sell bags, dresses, suits and accessories. Wearing the items will make you feel like a million dollars, but without burning a hole in your pocket.

Don’t miss out on additional earning opportunities

When was the last time that you had a strong resolve to earn more? There’s absolutely nothing wrong in settling with the income that you are currently earning. But there is also no rule saying that you should pass up on the opportunities to earn more – especially if they unexpectedly fall on your lap. Once your bank account starts expanding as a result of all that hard work, you can thank yourself and get a well-earned break. But before that, you have to work hard for it so do not miss out on additional earning opportunities.

Don’t pay any more in taxes than you have to

8 Strategies to Double Your Finances in 2015

Save Money

While mapping out your financial goals, do not forget to scrutinize the taxes that you are currently paying. If you’re a small-scale entrepreneur, for example, you can replace your existing office furniture with new ones and write it off as office expense. This will save you a good amount on taxes, especially if done by the end of the year. Other ways that you can pay less in taxes is by putting more money into pre-tax retirement accounts or investing in bonds.

Extract the utmost benefits from your savings account

If you found a side job, a second job or totally changed your career for more earning opportunities, make sure that your savings account grows with it. Unfortunately, most financial institutions offer very little interest rate for clients who are filling up their coffers on a safe yet boring savings account.

If your current bank is offering very little in terms of interest rates, look for other financial products that you can go for. Make sure that you are not paying any more than you have to on banking-related fees, such as dormancy charges or hidden fees. If you have to, talk with a financial expert so that you can check out what other options you have when it comes to growing your money.

Brace yourself for increasing interest rates

Financial experts predict a sudden rise in interest rates especially after the recession. To brace yourself for this, pay off as much as you can on your existing debts before the increase in interest rates is implemented. If haven’t already done so, consider having your mortgage refinanced. Talk to a financial expert about this, especially if you have no idea about how refinancing works. If you are a first-time buyer of a car or a home, speed up the process and make the decision to buy now – not later when interest rates reach an all-time high.

Consider money an important tool

Finally, consider money as a tool that helps you achieve your goals in life. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is considering money as evil, or the enemy, so much so that they put their spending on a very tight leash. Remember that money is something that you should have fun with and enjoy spending. Once you start feeling good about money, the way that it flows in and out of your life will be a more exciting and rewarding experience.

By setting clear goals yourself for 2015, it should be a financially rewarding year for you all the way round.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

16 Comments

  • Last year was a rough year for me in 2014. I was laid off my call center job for about 2 1/2 months. I did receive EI (Employment Insurance) but it was just enough to get by. In that time I looked for other jobs and focused a lot into my online work. I was able to start making enough online. I went back to the call center for a month and quit to do full time online.

    Right now I am trying to make a fresh start with my financial and I am trying to set realistic goals. It is not always easy but I am trying. Reading this made me feel a bit better though, thanks for the tips.

    • Rarely is unemployment enough to get by on unless you make some major sacrifices. However, if you’re already frugal or living on a limited budget, then you can’t exactly make many more sacrifices. It’s pretty simple (earning an income online), however, being successful enough to live off it is another story entirely.

      • Oh I know and because most of the jobs I was doing was not always full time it met very low unemployment. My claim is still open for EI but because I quit the call center to work at home I can’t get any more money from it. The worse I had was getting something like $620 a month from unemployment, it was rough. I tend to go without though and live without habits other than coffee. Yes earning online is an entirely different story. Right now is a bad month for me online, I may need to borrow $100 from my parents to cover part of my rent.

  • It’s been a tough couple of years for me, my husband became disabled and we’ve had to live on a very fixed income (he only makes about 30% of what he made before). The key for us was to start making changes immediately. Don’t wait for things to “get better”. Take a really hard look at what you consider “needs” vs wants. Do you really need a cell plan with unlimited minutes/data? Do you really need the premium cable channels? Do you really need steak when hamburger is just as filling? Do you really need new clothes? You’d be surprised at the amount of money you can save by re-evaluating your expenses. While a budget is great, it is really just an estimate, so start by writing down every cent you spend – you’d be surprised at how much you spend mindlessly without really knowing it. Once you see where you’re spending, you’ll be better able to cut those expenses.

    • Exactly. When your financial situation changes, you need to take immediate action in order to live a decent lifestyle while maximizing your income. Cutbacks are almost always necessary when talking about making less money than before, but some people can successfully downsize and still live a normal lifestyle.

  • 2014 was really hard for me financially too. I am currently in the position where I have to account for every single penny. I agree with galmal in that it really helps to take a note of every single penny you spend – it allows you to look over things and work out where you need to cut back.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your 2014 financial-wise. I hope that 2015 winds up being a far better year for you. Accounting for every penny is difficult, but it’s a smart idea whether you’re in dire straits or not. When we know where our money goes, then we know how to manage it properly and keep ourselves out of trouble!

  • Incredible. I thought I had my 2015 budget all planned out, with a weekly amount set for groceries and a list of cheap meals to get the best nutritional values for my money, I jotted down tons of points of what to watch out for and what sort of margin we could allow ourselves (not much). I read this article by curiosity more than by need because, even if I think I have a subject covered, you always bring a few points and tricks that I had missed.

    When I read “Consider money as something that helps you achieve your goals in life – don’t look at it as the enemy.”, I felt myself like being shaken awake.

    In all of my planning, I thought about the cheapest way to get by, but I did not take into consideration any potential goals we have, any place for us not being trapped but growing through this. Now, I look back and think, “I’m not sure how I would have felt at the end of 2015, having cut back on all enjoyments and focused more on saving than on growing!”

    Thank you, thank you so much for reminding me. For reminding everyone!

  • There are so many ways to reduce your tax burden, no matter how much money you make or where the income comes from. For that reason, almost everyone winds up paying more in taxes than they need to, and it’s important to know how to put an end to this issue. You need to look at less common tax breaks and deductions to start out with.

  • This is definitely motivation for me as I have been through some very hard times the last few years. It seems like every time I plan on saving a little money to find something to invest in or to gain an asset I get held back by something unexpected. But this year will be different and nothing is going to hold me back, even if I have to eat rice and beans for the next 6 months I am going to make it.

    • Rice and beans are decently healthy, at least, depending upon what kinds you eat. I’d say that whatever money you put into savings or investments, you shouldn’t touch those no matter what your financial situation winds up being. If you ignore those assets and pretend they’re not there, then you’re forced to better manage your money all around.

  • We totally revamped our budget in 2014, cutting our expenses in half. It was a difficult thing to do but cutting the expenses allowed us to build our savings account. Our plan for 2015 is to reduce our working hours now that we’re in the habit of spending less. We’ve decided to prioritize family over additional cash that we’ve learned not to spend.

    • I feel like AFTER you cut expenses, keeping your overall expenses low beyond that point is quite an easy task. Getting to that point is far more difficult, though. The one area I can never really lower my expenses is with food. Whether I eat out or cook food at home, I always like more expensive foods, or at least whole meals that require a lot of ingredients. That’s obviously my fault, though.

  • I need to really keep up my motivation to go for every opportunity to increase my earnings, or else I won’t be able to save anything at all and may even have to give up the one luxury expense that I really, really love. I’m hoping for some improvement in the economy this year.

  • Those are some great suggestions! One thing I love is automatic savings plans. I just set the amount I want put into my account each week, and I never have to think of it. Every few months or so I take a look at it and see if I can up it a few more dollars. I have saved so much money this way without even feeling like I am trying,

  • Thank you for these great tips! I am a self employed music teacher and since August of 2013, I have been losing clients left and right. I still teach for about a couple hours a day but since I’ve lost about 2/3 of my clients my income has greatly diminished and with that my savings account as well. For the passed several months I’ve been asking my mom and in-laws for money to help me out with bills. Since then I’ve been looking for ways to save money. Needless to say, I am really glad that I came across this article.

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