How To Start the New Year on Good Financial Footing

The following is by Cat Alford, a regular contributor.

The New Year brings with it a lot of potential to reset your financial buttons and get started on the right foot. I know that I personally will be making a concerted effort to spend a lot less since I am now working 100% for myself and am dependent on a variable income. I’ll also be using a few different tools to track my spending and to ensure my savings goals are met.

If you also want to start 2014 on a positive note, here are some other ideas:

Keep Goals Visible

Consider writing down your money goals for 2014 and putting them in a place that you and others can see it. I recommend a piece of paper stuck to the fridge that can say things like “Max Out IRA” or “Stop! Don’t order that pizza!” Small reminders like that can help us to keep our eyes on the prize and prevent us from spending needlessly on items we don’t need.

Go Through Expenses

The New Year is a great time to go through your expenses. It’s a good time to call your insurance company, your phone company, etc. to make sure you are getting the best rate. Make sure to call them and tell them you are a good loyal customer but you’re shopping around to different companies to make sure you are getting the best price.

If you are trying to get out of credit card debt, go ahead and make another call to your card companies to see if you can get your interest rate lowered. Completing all of these tasks in January can ensure that you are getting the best possible prices on everything for the rest of 2014.

Start Spring Cleaning Early

I am in 100% crazy nesting mode. As in, if it’s not nailed to the ground, I’m probably considering selling it or donating it. Consigning some of your work clothes that no longer fit or listing that old TV stand you’ve had forever on Craigslist can put a few extra dollars in your pocket that you can apply to your debt or savings goals.

You can also make it a point to assess your belonging on the first of every month this year to make sure you aren’t buying duplicates or hanging on to things you don’t need.

Make Sure You’re On the Same Page as Your Other Half

If you have a significant other, make sure they are on board with financially rocking 2014 as well. It’s really hard to succeed with your money goals if your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend isn’t interested in doing the same. So, make sure you let them know about your goals and have a family meeting to discuss them.

Overall, there are lots of ways to ensure you start the New Year on the right financial foot. With just a little bit of time, a few phone calls, and a bit of support, you should be able to improve your financial situation and save up for something fun along the way.

What are your money goals for 2014?

Like What You See?

Join the other readers who have signed up for our email newsletter! No spam, just periodic updates to help improve your finances!

About Catherine Alford

Catherine Alford is a personal finance freelance writer who received a B.A. from The College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Virginia Tech. She enjoys sharing her adventures on her blog,


  1. Good tips. I especially like the recommendation to sell things that aren’t being used. I have some expensive things that are just gathering dust. They need to go in 2014!

  2. These are all great tips. This week I am going to sit down and figure out all of my expenses and bills and then try to reduce them, either by getting rid of the service or by negotiating the price down.

  3. Bryce @ Save and Conquer says:

    The main thing I plan to do soon is have a talk with my wife about lifestyle creep. We spent a bit more money in 2013 than I am comfortable with. We can certainly afford it, but with retirement fast approaching, I would like to keep our monthly expenses more in-line with what we spent prior to 2013. No big changes, but perhaps less travel in the coming year.

    • Good to hear you’re analyzing your spending. Even if you don’t budget, taking a look at where you’re spending your money and adjusting is a key to financial success.

  4. I feel fortunate that my husband and I are on the same page when it comes to money. Hopefully 2014 will be better for us than 2013!

  5. Visible goals were really important for me when I was paying off my student loans. I had a poster board with everything listed on it and I checked off as I paid down the loans (think little kid chores chart). Sounds silly but it was really motivational for me.

  6. These are some very valid points I can’t remember my goals from last year because I didn’t write them down. I just thought about them and forgot I guess. My expenses I look at everyday now. I think I’m obsessed with numbers.

Share Your Thoughts