As the new year is here, you may be wondering: what should my new year’s money moves be? If you want to be financially better next year, be prepared to win with these 11 great new year’s money moves.
New year, new you. Right?!
YES, that’s exactly what I’m doing as well.
The new year is here and we want to develop better habits in all regards.
After all the heavy meals, treats, and having way too much food – we are going to the supermarket wanting to buy veggies and fruits.
Similarly, after a month of spending on buying gifts for family and friends – we’ve had enough. We can’t wait to get the finances in order and start the new year with a clean slate.
In order to make next year your best financial year yet, here are 11 great new year’s money moves for January next year!
1. Invest Your Money
Investing is important if you’re aspiring to retire.
If you’re pursuing financial independence and retire early (FIRE), starting with investing is one of the most important things to do. Also if you’re aspiring traditional retirement, it’s approaching sooner than you think and you may want to think about starting to invest.
Starting with investing is something that is perceived as hard and complicated. It can be difficult if you want it to be, but I will tell you how it can be simple: invest in a low-cost index fund and just add money to the same fund every month.
Then you wait for compound interest to kick in and see your money making money.
Save from your current income (around 10% to start with) and invest the majority in a low-cost index fund. Then see your money grow over time until retirement.
2. It Is The Perfect Year To Start Your Side Hustle
If you haven’t started a side hustle yet, today is the day to start!
Over the last year I made a total of €411 side hustle income, consisting of cashback campaigns, selling my stuff secondhand, surveys, and the blog. I liked all my side hustles this year, and I’m sure to do more of it next year.
There are many reasons to start your side hustle. I love that you can make money with anything you want. For example, I like to write on the blog and I like to make others happy with things in my home that I no longer need.
There is something for everyone!
Here are some extra ideas for side hustles!
3. Start Building Passive Income
Besides side hustles, I’m a big fan of passive income. Everything that is passive has my preference.
Laziness aside, it’s such a good feeling when you’re working towards a passive income portfolio. There any many sources of passive income. My favorite sources of passive income are:
In January 2020 I only made €100 passive income and in December 2020 I made €174 passive income. That shows the growth that is possible.
Most of my income comes from peer-to-peer lending and that is my favorite way of building passive income by far. There are many platforms that I’m using, that give me an average of 11.90% return on investment.
I have to say that there is always a risk-reward ratio that you should be aware of. There are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk significantly, by only investing in platforms and loans with a buyback guarantee for example.
Dividends are currently not my main focus, but I’m happy that they come with investing in low-cost index funds. The yield is not high but dividend investing feels like double-dipping – by shares increasing in value and dividends being paid to your account.
4. Resist Lifestyle Inflation
Unrelated to our income, many are living above their means.
There is this article in the NY Times that mentions someone who is having an incredibly stressful job that pays $1.2 million a year. He wants to switch jobs, but he can’t take the pay cut to a $600K yearly salary.
While this sounds insane, it is the perfect example of lifestyle inflation. You need to keep up with a certain lifestyle because you’re used to living that way.
We don’t want that. We want to resist lifestyle inflation so we can bank our raises and extra income.
One effective way to do that is to cut down on unnecessary expenses. I can think of a lot:
- Finally get to it and cut the cord – there are enough alternatives
- Call your current service providers and ask for a discount
- Reduce your grocery costs to $70 monthly
- Check yearly if your healthcare insurance and your utility provider is still optimal in your personal situation
- Reduce your electricity bill by being more mindful and intentional about it
- Check yearly all your subscriptions: are you still using them? Cancel everything that you’re not using!
- If you’re having a hard time – check out how to be frugal & how to have frugal fun!
5. Get Your House Ready
New year, new house, new you. Trust me on this!
This year I moved in together with my partner, meaning that all our stuff is now in the same house. I’ve been consuming like crazy when I was 15-18 years old. I have gathered A LOT of stuff and it was hard for me to let it go and give it a new home.
When I moved out, I decluttered again. About 50% of my stuff was left at that time. When I moved in with my partner, we both decluttered. About 20% of my stuff is now still left.
We used the Marie Kondo style, where we went through everything and decided if an item sparked joy or not. This made the entire process much easier.
Because we donated and gave away so much of the stuff, the house feels bigger now. There is less stuff cluttering the rooms, there is a place for everything we own, and the things that you keep are the things that give you joy.
Why is this a money move? If you do this, there will be a lot of room created for goals and dreams related to money. The environment that you’re living in determines how much space you can create for other things in your life.
I am a big fan!
6. Sell The Items That Aren’t Giving Joy
When you’ve cleaned your house, there are some hidden gems that aren’t giving you joy but are valuable for someone else. Sell those items online, that is a win-win!
Sell those items on your local marketplace or put them online, so that you can start the year off right by making an extra buck.
I love it when I can make someone happy with something that I’m not using anymore. Clothes are don’t fit perfectly, bags I don’t use, and more.
Beware: only sell items that are actually worth anything. You don’t want to spend time selling items that eventually are not worth much.
When you’re selling your stuff, you can use that cash for the financial goals that you have set up for the year.
7. Automate, Automate, Automate
In order to meet your goals and still optimize your financial situation, automate your savings. It’s great that you’re trying to maximize your spending by making optimal decisions, but automation takes that all out of the equation.
I mean, that’s why successful people wear the same clothes every day – because people have a limited source of decision-making ability and we should use it carefully.
Automate the heck out of your savings, which will result in you reaching all your money goals. I mean: if you’re automatically deducting your desired savings from your checking account, you simply can’t spend it. That will set you up for success!
However, beware if you have an irregular income. Automating your finances isn’t for everyone.
8. Don’t Forget About Your Emergency Fund
Living paycheck to paycheck can be really stressful. You never know when the unexpected costs hit and you have to go into debt to cover them. You’re putting yourself and your family at risk.
There are too many scary money statistics out there, one stating that 40% of people can’t cover a $400 emergency. That could be a medical bill or a car repair.
Build up your emergency fund ASAP so that you’ll cover these kinds of expenses for sure!
Start working towards a $1000 emergency fund and the ultimate goal would be to have three to six months of living expenses saved. This is the ideal situation, where you could cover several months of unemployment or any other major emergency.
Yes, it can take a while to build up your emergency fund – but it’s worth it. No more money stress, you know you can pay the bills, and you get motivated to work towards other financial goals.
9. The Perfect Time To Start A Budget
Okay, now on to budgets. Not everyone is a fan of budgets – that’s totally okay.
The new year is, however, the perfect time to start a budget!
It can be hard in the beginning, not knowing exactly what you’re spending. BUT over time it will be a great tool to show you where you are sticking to your budget and where you can use some work.
If you’ve never had a budget, try it! It can be hard at times to stick to your budget, but once you get the hang of it it’ll be great!
10. Decide If You Want To Pay Off Debt
Deciding whether you want to pay off your debt is a highly personal decision.
You can calculate how much you would expect to save when you’re paying off your debt earlier. Then compare this to the estimated investment return if you would invest this money in the stock market or in peer-to-peer lending.
There is also the mental component of having debt, which can make it worthwhile to pay off your debt even if it’s financially less attractive. If you’re stressed about your debt and want to get rid of it, sitting it out can be the cause of anxiety. It’s not worth it in that case.
I decided not to pay off my student loans last year, which was a purely financial decision. Next year I am obligated to start paying back my student loans, unfortunately, so I’ll pay the minimum payments for the coming years.
If something changes in the situation and I decide that I want to pay off the debt, that’s what I will do.
11. Learn To Do Things Yourself
We are now living the decade of possibilities. Everyone is online and even better, everything is on YouTube.
Do you want to fix your heater? Check YouTube.
Do you want to change your car’s tires? Check YouTube.
Do you want to fix the leaking sink? Check YouTube.
Repairs can be expensive. Even if you have built your emergency fund, you might want to save on these costs.
There are many resources out there that can teach you how to do things yourself. It can cost you a little more time in the beginning when you’re learning. In the end it will be a huge cost saver and you will be proud that you have learned a new skill.
Go try it and let me know how it goes!
All In All – New Year’s Money Moves
When the new year starts, many are planning on making new year’s money moves.
We discussed 11 great new year’s money moves for next year, where we talked specifically about:
- Invest your money
- Start your side hustle
- Start building passive income
- Resist lifestyle inflation
- Get your house ready for the new year
- Sell things that aren’t giving you joy
- Automate, automate, automate
- Don’t forget your emergency fund
- This is the perfect time to start a budget
- Decide if you want to pay off debt
- Learn to do things yourself
These are just some ideas to get you to hit the ground running for next year.
What is your new year’s money move for next year?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.