I don’t know about you, but I always get so excited about the new year. It’s a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to evaluate the places in your life where you want to grow (and even the things you need to leave behind). We can’t be afraid to change up what we’re doing if things aren’t working—especially when it comes to our money.
So, this year, what do you want to change? Where do you need to grow? What new money habits can you build into your life?
Dave Ramsey (aka dad) and I made a list of my top 10 ideas for changes you can make to help you kick off your 2022 finances with a bang.
1. Find little ways to save money (aka not spend as much).
You guys know how much I love to spend money. But as much as I love spending money, it’s just as important to save it. (All you spenders say, “Womp, womp.”) But it’s true—especially if you’re trying to work toward those big 2022 money goals.
So, this year, I want you to start finding little ways to cut back. And when it comes to those sales? Put your blinders on and let your budget give you permission to spend. Here’s a little hack: If you’ve got the shopping bug, start adding things to your online shopping cart. But instead of checking out . . . hit that little x and close the window. See? You got to have all the fun of shopping without emptying your bank account.
Budget every dollar, every month. Get started with EveryDollar!
Dave always says, “No one does stupid on purpose.” And he’s right! If you were knowingly spending yourself all the way to broke, you probably wouldn’t keep doing it. The best thing you can do to stop yourself from spending money on little things is . . . pay attention. Yup, you’d be surprised at how many things you do during the day without even realizing it (and that includes spending money)! So, this year, be more aware of what you’re spending your money on and make sure it’s in the budget!
2. Keep your emergency fund funded.
If I know one thing, it’s that life happens when you least expect it. That’s why having an emergency fund is so important. But what’s even more important is building it back up after you dip into it. No one can control what emergencies come up, but you can control whether you’re financially prepared for them.
I know, I know. It’s a huge bummer to feel like you’re taking a step backward when you’ve already worked so hard to get your emergency fund where it needs to be. But here’s the silver lining: You’re not going into debt for that emergency! While it hurts to rebuild your emergency fund all over again, it doesn’t hurt as bad as paying interest on that new furnace you had to buy.
3. Don’t go crypto-crazy.
Everyone gets FOMO every now and then. (I’m raising my hand over here.) But don’t let your fear of missing out lead you to make a terrible investment with your money!
Right now, the latest money craze is cryptocurrency. But here’s the funny thing: Only 14% of Americans say they have a clear understanding of what cryptocurrency is. And yet, 22% of Americans have purchased it.1
Listen: Don’t go crypto-crazy! When it comes to investing your money, you want to know you’re choosing an investment that has a consistent track record of steady growth over time. Crypto is so new and so unstable that no one knows exactly what it’s going to do. That’s not a good place to invest your hard-earned money or to bet your retirement!
4. Get a part-time job.
If you have big dreams for your life this year, chances are, money plays an important role in making them happen. The easiest way to increase your income is by getting another job! Dave has always said, “There’s a great place to go when you’re broke—work!”
So, whether that’s a part-time job at Starbucks or starting your own side hustle, your goal is to bring in the extra dough. And it’s never been easier than right now. It seems that everyone is hiring (and paying pretty well too!).
5. Don’t rely on the government to pay your student loans.
Ramsey Solutions’ State of Personal Finance study found that 68% of Americans think the government will forgive some amount of their student loans.
This one makes me sigh a little bit. You guys, you cannot wait on someone else to fix your problems (and yes, that includes student loans!). Once you start placing your future in someone else’s hands, things can get scary. Not only will you end up waiting a very long time—but you also probably won’t get the solution you’re hoping for.
You guys, you have the power to move the needle! When you take responsibility for your life, things really do start to move and shift. Instead of letting Sallie Mae hold you in captivity, why not start cutting those chains loose yourself?
6. Don’t fall for Afterpay.
Afterpay might sound like a good idea at first, right? You get to “buy” what you want and pay for it in installments. But here’s the thing: If you miss one payment over the next four months, you’ll end up paying more for the sweater than if you just paid cash for it! And sure, you’re thinking, I won’t miss a payment! But a Ramsey Solutions study found that 74% of people who use a buy-now-pay-later service actually (you guessed it) missed a payment.2
It’s a sneaky marketing tactic! Afterpay doesn’t feel like debt since it’s not a credit card or a loan. But you guys, no matter how you market it . . . it’s still debt. Stay far, far away. And in the meantime, add that sweater to next month’s budget (or save up over time and pay for it in cash).
7. Talk with your spouse about money.
Let’s be honest: Getting on the same page about money with your spouse is hard (with a capital H). And 41% of married couples say they often fight with their spouse when they talk about money.3 You guys, it takes a crazy amount of communication, honesty and work to come together on this topic. Think about it: You’re two completely different people with different money tendencies trying to find unity. But . . . all of that hard work is worth the effort!
The best way to start getting on the same page is to sit down and have a budget meeting. No matter if you’re a spender or saver, free spirit or nerd, it’s important that you both show up! And as you work through your budget together over time, you’ll learn how to iron out the kinks. Remember, the more you do this, the easier it will be!
8. Get on a budget.
Dave always says, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it . . . every time.” And he’s right! So, when it comes to your 2022 money goals, if you’re not budgeting, you’re probably not going to get too far.
A budget is the key to changing your financial life this year. It’s the plan that will help you actually get to where you want to go! I had a friend tell me she works too hard to nickel-and-dime herself on a budget. But that’s the opposite of what a budget does. I say this all the time, but a budget gives you permission to spend! If you’re ready to start budgeting, download EveryDollar for free. Get set up and ready to go in less than 10 minutes.
9. Keep your eyes on what you have, not on what others have.
My friend Dr. John Delony said, “Anxiety has been escalating so quickly that the trend line is almost completely vertical.” Yikes. But it’s true—especially when it comes to comparing ourselves to others. Don’t let the anxiety of comparing your life to someone else’s steal your peace! You cannot let someone else’s money decisions control your life.
The idea of buying more and more stuff so we can live life based on what other people have takes a real toll! And that toll is called discontentment. It’s time to put the blinders on and focus on what’s in front of you. Social media can be a big instigator too. Find out what things are causing you more discontentment and learn to limit those triggers. Dave says, “The fewer screens you have in your face, the more content you are.” So, so true!
10. Live on less than you make.
Everything I talk about when it comes to money lives under this one simple (yet hard) piece of money wisdom: Live on less than you make. The normal way of the world is to spend, spend, spend—even if it’s not your money. You guys, the Joneses are broke. Why? Because they’re chasing make-believe. It’s time to stop chasing what the world says you need and start putting this timeless wisdom into practice. Remember, normal is broke. (And who wants to be normal?)
Whew! I’m so excited about these tips, and I know if you put them into practice, you’ll see positive change in your finances this year. And who doesn’t want to see forward progress (especially with money)?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to lay out these tips without giving you a path forward. This where Ramsey+ comes in. It’s your go-to money toolbox that will help you win with money and accomplish your goals in 2022. Build new money habits with the premium version of EveryDollar and learn how to ditch the old ones step-by-step with Financial Peace University—all inside of Ramsey+. Ready to dive in? Start your trial.