1. Unsubscribe from marketing email lists. This includes: all stores, conglomerate sites like Gilt or Groupon, vendor sites like eBay or Etsy and any other flash sale sites. Try it as an experiment and trust that it feels much better to shop proactively rather than reactively. Bonus points for setting up a separate email account for online purchases only.
2. Call and cancel snail mail catalogs and credit card offers. I know it’s an arduous task, but every time I move, I force myself to compile 2-3 months of catalogs and other junk mail and then I call every single 1-800 number and kindly request to be removed from the mailing list and all associated lists. That way junk mail doesn’t follow me around the country. If you’ve never done this before, January is the perfect time of year to set things right.
3. Identify and stop leaks in your spending. You can do this by tuning into your money and closely monitoring what happens each month. The more frequently you track your spending, it’s that much easier to catch mistakes, oversights and recurring transactions that require your attention plus you’ll be closer to the present moment. I teach my clients a daily personal money practice, but weekly or even monthly check-ins can work for people. If it’s been over a year since your last cable and cell phone bill audit, call them up and see what you can negotiate to save money each month.
4. Clean out your wallet. Empty every pocket and mindfully decide what stays. You never know what you’ll find: missing receipts, gift cards, checks to cash, business cards and sometimes even cash in hidden pockets. You may decide to rearrange your cards or leave some in a desk drawer. Gold stars for putting your debit card in the prime spot. Be sure to check out my post on Messy Wallet People if you can relate.
5. Reexamine your financial team. Do you have an accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, business coach, and money mentor that you like, respect and trust? If not, find someone whose relationship with money your admire and ask them for referrals. Read on for tips on Choosing the Right Financial Advisor.
6. Think of creative solutions to your needs. Love fresh herbs? Start a window box garden. Thrive on organic vegetables? Buy in bulk at the farmer’s market or Costco. Feel the need for new clothes? First clean out your closet and then try thrift stores, host a clothing swap or subscribe to an affordable and 100% customizable personal shopping service like Stitch Fix.
7. Plan your spending, saving and earning for 2016. The annual plan tool is one of the main reasons I love the Money Minder, a holistic financial tracking software. Planning your year is a vital and intimate conversation to have with yourself and loved ones. It’s fun to envision possibilities, needs and desires for the year ahead and with the Money Minder, you get the answer to the question, “Does this plan work?”