steps i'm taking to improve my finances

I’ve struggled with money ever since I got my first job. I try my best, but it seems I can never manage my money successfully enough to even start saving it. It’s been vicious cycle of trying and seeing no improvement and I want to change that this year.

My word of the year for 2020 is intentional. And that is exactly what I plan to do with my money in 2020 — be intentional.

I am on a mission to improve my relationship with money this upcoming year. Are you going to join me this year in improving your finances? Here is my game plan on how I’m going to do this, feel free to use any or all of these for your own financial journey! 

10 Steps I’m Taking To Improve My Finances In 2020

1. Creating and sticking to a budget.

I’m really great at planning a budget, I’ll sit at my desk with my paycheck binder, get my pens out, and list out all my bills, money needed for groceries, and any other expenses. My problem is sticking to my budget. I’ll leave out around $150 for groceries for two weeks, but then while I’m at the store I’ll overspend the first week. Then I go into other money the next week. 

Related: How To Build A Budget From Scratch

This is just one example of a loop that goes around and around each time I get paid. To be more intentional this year I’m going to take the first few months of the year to try out different forms of budgeting until I find one that works for me.

The first two budgets I am going to try out is the 50–20-30 budget and Dave Ramesy’s Envelope budget. If you know of any other budgets I should try I am open to suggestions. Comment below and tell me what has worked the best for you.

Related: What To Do When You Get Your Paycheck

2. Become more knowledgeable.

The more knowledge I have about budgeting, saving, debt, etc., the more prepared I’ll be to put these topics into practice. I’ll be referring back to GenTwenty’s Finance articles from my fellow writers, as well as reading books.

Two of the books on my to-be-read list are Millennial Money Makeover by Conor Richardson and The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramesy. 

Editor’s note: I would also suggest Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry and The Millennial Money Fix by Doug and Heather Boneparth.

3. Have two savings accounts.

A big goal I want to accomplish in 2020 is to have $1,000 saved by the end of the year. This will become my emergency fund account.

I also want to complete a savings challenge that I created. If I can complete that by the end of the year I would have saved $1478! At the end of the year I plan on taking that money and putting 60% to my student loan debt, donating 25%, and using the remaining 15% for fun.

Related: The Easiest Way to Take (and Finish!) the 52 Week Challenge

2020 savings challenge

4. Utilize the Acorns app.

I’ve heard about this app a couple of times before and I’ve always been intrigued.

The idea behind this app can be described as a virtual piggy bank. When you connect the app to your bank account it takes the leftover change from your purchases and saves them. What I have found out about change, from physically saving it, is that it adds up fast.

5. Learn the art of couponing.

I don’t think I have the patience to do extreme couponing, props to you all that do that, but I do want to start couponing a little more than I do.

There are so many apps that offer digital coupons now. Part of this step will be to sit down with my grocery list each week and compare prices between stores, including the coupons in the price. 

6. Create a financial bullet journal.

In 2019 I put all my budget planning in a binder. I noticed that I wasn’t being consistent in tracking my finances. For 2020 I’m moving my trackers to a bullet journal.

It’s smaller so it will be more portable, and I use my bullet journal every day so there is no excuse. I plan on having a debt snowball tracker and a savings thermometer for my overall trackers. Then each month I’ll have my monthly bill tracker and spending log.

7. Limit impulse buying.

I’ve got a bad habit of buying without thinking when I see something I want. Then later when I’m low on money I regret it.

To fix this issue I’ll also be including a want list in my financial bullet journal. My plan is to write it before I buy it. This has multiple benefits. I’ll be less impulsive by thinking through if I want the item, or even have it in my budget, and I’ll be saving money.

Related: You Blew Through Your Budget… Now What?

8. Pay more attention to credit score.

My credit score needs work and 2020 is my year to improve it. Instead of just focusing on what debt I need to pay off, I want to also focus on other ways I can improve my score.

Related: How To Start Improving Your Credit Score in the Next 6 Months

9. Take my blog more seriously.

I love blogging for fun. It’s a great way to express my creativity. In 2020 I’d love to grow it further and turn it into a side hustle as well. Facebook groups have helped me tremendously with advice on how to do this. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Making More Money

READ MORE  10 Pieces of Financial Wisdom To Live By

10. Pay off all non-student loan debt.

I’ve got a lot of student loan debt, which I will be working on this year. I also have some non-student loan debt as well. This debt seems to be a manageable amount to pay off within a year. 

Related: How To Stop Overspending (and Pay Down Debt)

There is my game-plan for 2020. I’m certain that, if I can put into practice/achieve all of these, I will start to be in good shape financially. What are some of your money goals for 2020?