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Forget new year’s resolutions: The ultimate guide to setting financial goals

With a new year well underway, you may have had good intentions to improve your finances. In order to get your finances in check, you need to have a plan. This plan should include living within your means, spending according to your priorities, and doing what you can to increase your income.

Start the new year off right

The very first thing to do is to stop spending more than you earn. Take a look at your income and your expenses, and make sure that what you make exceeds what you spend. Consider your priorities, and what’s important to you. Look at the spending you have that doesn’t match your values and financial goals. Those are the purchases you can stop making to bring your spending in line with your income.

Make a plan to pay down any debt that you have, and stick with that plan throughout the year. You want to make sure that you are getting rid of debt so that your financial resources are your own. Consider a realistic plan for paying off debt, and work on that.

Next, look for ways to earn more money. If you are concerned that there is only so much cutting you can do in your budget, or if you are looking for ways to increase your income so that you have more available cash to help you invest for the future, consider your options. You take a second job, start a side hustle, or look for passive income sources. And, if you want to earn money without doing anything markedly different from what you do regularly, you can consider using a cashback credit card.

A few more realistic financial goals

Whatever improvements you choose to make, each small change could make a big difference between now and retirement!


  1. 2 Cents

    Good suggestions! Any changes we make for the better are good ones and often inspire us to make more changes!

    I agree on TFSAs as well. I think we all need to look at how this new tool can be used in our unique financial situation.

  2. Sean

    Great ideas, I had some trouble with the 2x a month mortgage, problem was mortgage company wanted to charge extra for the service. so when they received seperate checks they wouldnt take the extra off the interest. Annoying but I just pay more monthly now.

  3. Kathleen

    Just a comment about TFSAs. You can invest up to $5000 for each year that you have had the account open, and any remaining balance from one year will carry on to the next. Meaning that if I invested $2000 in my TFSA in 2009, I can invest up to $8000 this year. However, this is only because I had the account open in 2009. If you were to open a TFSA right now, you would only be able to invest up to $5000 in it this year. The way you word it makes it sound as though someone who opens a TFSA right now can invest up to $10,000 which is not the case.

  4. Personal Investing

    I might just follow your suggestion. It is really important to invest at this an early time.

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