Four Financial Whizzes on How to Get Your $$$hizz Together in 2017

Make this the year you sort your money out, with 17 tips from women who actually know how to do it

financial resolutions

Jessica Moorhouse, host of the Mo’ Money Podcast and founder of Millennial Money Meetup

Financial resolution #1: Look to the future
“Money can be a less-than-inspiring topic sometimes, so instead of focusing on the money, focus on what you want to do this year. Set a big goal, like running a marathon in a different city, or travelling to a dream location, and then work backwards. How are you going to find money to pay for it? That’s more fun than building a budget, and you’re much more likely to follow through!” —Desirae Odjick, 27, who blogs at Half Banked

Financial resolution #2: Dig through the past
“You know that feeling at the end of the month, where you’re not exactly sure where your money went, but you’re definitely sure it’s all gone? Yeah, that one. Well, tracking your spending is the best way to get a picture-perfect idea of what you actually spent. Not only will you be aware—and maybe a little shocked—at how much you spent at restaurants, you’ll also be in a great position to see if your spending lines up with what actually makes you happy. Tracking where your money goes for a week or a month to get some serious insights.” —Odjick

Financial resolution #3: Set boundaries
“If you happened to spend an outrageous amount of money on chokers in 2016—who didn’t?—try to limit those bad spending habits. It helps to ask yourself whether you’d classify a purchase as a need—or a want.” —Alyssa Fischer, 26, who blogs at Mixed Up Money

Financial resolution #4: Set up automatic payments
“It takes five minutes to automate your payments, it can be done through your online banking, and it’s one of the best ways to control your debts, bills and savings accounts. It’s a relief to know you’ll never be late on a payment again.” — Fischer

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Alyssa Fischer, 26, who blogs at Mixed Up Money

Financial resolution #5: Cut down on the cards
“Do you have six different credit cards but you don’t know why? It’s time to simplify your money and your life. Cancel the newest cards that you use the least, and stick to two credit cards—tops.” — Jessica Moorhouse, 30, host of the Mo’ Money Podcast and founder of Millennial Money Meetup

Financial resolution #6: Don’t stress about major saving
“The habit is more important than the amount. Most people are overwhelmed by the prospect of saving thousands of dollars, but putting away as little as $25 or $50 per paycheque into a savings account is a great way to start. You can increase the amount on a quarterly or semi-annual basis until you meet your goal.” —Bridget Casey, 31, who blogs at Money After Graduation

Financial resolution #7: Start investing
“Start investing even if you’re scared. Most people are worried about making a mistake, but the only mistake you can make is not investing at all! Lots of banks give out free material about how to do it, and you can always check out Investopedia and Yahoo Finance to learn more.” — Casey 

Financial resolution #8: Don’t overpay on investments
“Canadians pay some of the highest mutual fund fees in the world, and those fees will eat away at your investment returns. Anyone at your bank (other than a teller) can tell you what the Management Expense Ratios (or MREs) are on the mutual funds in your portfolio. And in the new year, they’ll also need to tell you how much that costs in actual dollars per year, instead of just percentages.” — Odjick

Financial resolution #9: Shop around
“Look at how much you currently pay for your bills, then see if a competitor can offer you a lower price. With cell phones, ask around on Reddit, Facebook and IRL about other people’s plans, then take that info to other providers to see if they’ll match or beat it. If you’re looking for a better deal from your existing provider, ask for the retentions department. That’s where you can really get stuff done.” — Moorhouse 

Financial resolution #10: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
“Asking for more money from a potential or current employer can be an intimidating conversation, but it’s worth being uncomfortable for 20 minutes if it adds thousands of dollars to your annual income. Determine why you deserve more, write yourself a script, and then practice with a friend. If they’re not saying no, you’re not asking for enough.” — Casey 

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Bridget Casey, 31, who blogs at Money After Graduation (Photograph: Bilal Karim)

Financial resolution #11: Turn your skills into skrill
Get a side hustle. Need to make some extra cash to reach your financial goals sooner? Figure out what skills you can turn into a business and get going!” — Moorhouse

Financial resolution #12: Check your credit score
“Since multiple companies now offer you your credit score for free, there’s no excuse not to know your score. And you need to—it can impact everything from getting a loan to scoring that great apartment to landing a job. That’s right: Employers can check your credit score. Might as well check it for free to see what they’ll find when they do, and know if you need to make adjustments.” — Odjick

Financial resolution #13: Look in on your emergency fund (orstart an emergency fund)
“How’s your emergency fund looking these days? If it’s enough to cover you for a month or two if you lost your income, you’re doing great. Lower than that? Luckily, you caught it before you really needed it. Make it a goal this year to beef up your emergency savings, even if it’s only by $20 a month. Someday, you’ll be very glad it’s there!” — Odjick

Financial resolution #14: Get insurance
“Insurance is boring, but it’s a godsend in financial catastrophe. It’s easy to feel invincible when you’re young, but a 25-year-old has a nearly 60 percent chance of going on disability leave for three months or longer. When you’re young, your income is your biggest financial asset, so protect it with disability insurance.” — Casey 

Money resolutiosn

Desirae Odjick, 27, who blogs at Half Banked

Financial resolution #15: Got insurance? Find out what it does
“No one thinks reading their insurance policies is a rocking good time, but it’s important to know the basics about your coverage. Make sure you know the deductibles on all of your plans—a.k.a. how much you have to pay out of pocket before they kick in—and what’s covered under each plan. That can help you identify where you might need extra coverage.” — Odjick

Financial resolution #16: Calm the f**k down
“Pace and prioritize your goals. Many young people feel pressured to do all the expensive things in their 20s: finish school, travel, get married, buy a house, even start a family. Don’t be scared of procrastinating some of these major life events to your 30s, when you have more income.” — Casey

Financial resolution #17: Cut yourself some slack
“Forgive yourself for financial mistakes. Being successful with money is more about your consistent habits than the handful of times you fall off the wagon. Overspending at the mall one weekend or getting a big fat parking ticket isn’t worth agonizing over — it’s not going to sink you if you’re taking care of your finances everywhere else. Don’t make it a regular thing, forgive yourself and move on.” — Casey

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