The end of the year is all about reflecting on what you’ve done well for the last 12 months, and what you should change. It’s a chance to congratulate yourself on your successes and strengths, but it’s important you don’t dwell too heavily on the failures. Instead, think constructively about how you should be moving forwards, and what changes you can make to improve your quality of life. If you’ve found that you’ve struggled financially in the last year, or even if you’d like to have a little bit more spare cash, try some of these helpful things, and put yourself in a stronger position financially.

Quit addictions

Addictions are, by their very nature, drains into which you sink your money but get no positive long-term outcomes. Smoking, for example, can cost over $2000 a year, and all you’ve got to show for it is an increased risk of cancer and bad breath. Even if you move to smoking electronic cigarettes with a premium e liquid, the saving is huge. The new year is the perfect time to kick addictions once and for all and reap the financial rewards. Even something like buying a couple of cups of coffee from Starbucks every day is an expensive addiction if you work out how much it adds up to over the course of a year. Kick the habit, and save the money for something you’ll actually enjoy.

Make and stick to a budget

As we grow up, we are always told the importance of budgeting, but so few of us actually do it. Yes, it can be a little time consuming to get it set up, but once you’ve got the spreadsheet sorted and you’ve done the basic data entry, all you need to do is keep it updated. Categorize things into household, work, apparel, and treats, and don’t let yourself overspend on the last two. People usually find that when they keep a closer eye on their finances, they’re less likely to spend wantonly and without regard for the long term. Although you can start a budget at any point in the year, the first day of January makes it really easy to keep track of.

Start an emergency fund

Things go wrong, and there’s very little we can do to stop it from happening. Unfortunately, when things go wrong it tends to cost a fair amount of money to get everything back on its feet, so it’s vital that we have an emergency fund available. Whether it’s a personal injury that stops you from being able to work or a problem with your home, it’s useful to have the money to hand almost immediately, so that debts aren’t incurred over long periods of low income or high expenditure. The best thing is if you put money in regularly, you’ll end up with more than enough to be able to withdraw smaller amounts for treats, while still ensuring you’ve got all financial bases covered. It’s a win-win situation.

Just a little bit of financial planning and some considerations before purchases is all it takes to ensure you’re in a much stronger financial position at the end of the year than you were going into it. Good luck, and have a very happy new year.