Hello, 2023! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season celebrating with family and friends.
Let’s face it, last year was a tough year for many. From a tough economic climate to getting back into the office after two years of working from home, there was a lot of change. While there is still a lot of uncertainty around what’s to come in 2023 regarding the economy, it’s important to focus on things that we as individuals can control.
January is traditionally a month of reflection. Looking back at the last year, think about all of the things that you’ve accomplished, big or small. Consider the actions you took to get there and the challenges you may have overcome. It’s important to give ourselves recognition and take a moment to be proud!
We can also reflect on things we’d like to change in our lives and use them as opportunities for personal growth. Many people use this time to develop a wellness routine that will help them achieve their physical and mental health goals. Others may try to end old and bad habits, such as smoking or scrolling on our phones for hours.
Coming off of the holidays, where many of us overspend on gifts and festivities, January is also an important time to consider what financial resolutions you want to make this year. This may feel like an overwhelming task as it’s only January, and we still have an entire year ahead of us!
Let’s break it down by month. Here are some of our recommendations on what you can focus on each month.
Use this time of reflection and goal-setting to create a budget for yourself and your household 2023.
Think about all that you have coming up this year in terms of large purchases. Whether that’s moving and buying a home, education, gifts, vacations, or weddings, we don’t have to remind you how important it is to have money set aside for these life events. Along with these items, consider your everyday expenses and create a “things I forgot to budget for” list for one-off expenses or emergencies.
Next, think about your savings goals for the year. Look back at what you were able to accomplish in 2022 and consider taking the same steps or changing your approach. This will vary depending on what you are saving for, such as furthering your education or a retirement plan.
Lastly, there may be key dates coming up that affect your finances, such as deadlines for enrolling in your company benefits plan or estimated tax payments to the IRS for Q4 2022 if you’re self-employed. Make sure to mark these on your calendar as a reminder.
At the end of the month, look back at what you were able to accomplish during the last 30 days. Make adjustments to your budget as needed, such as increasing your savings goals and contributing more to your retirement plan.
To save more in 2023, try a Frugal February challenge this month.
It helps that it’s a short month, and typically not great weather for outings or vacations. So why not use February as a period to do something difficult but important – like getting your finances on an even better track for the remainder of the year? We love the sound of that!
Use this shorter-than-usual month to make some financial sacrifices. Take a look at your fixed expenses and ask yourself if there is anything you can cut out, such as streaming subscriptions. You’d be surprised at how many things we pay for on a monthly basis that we are not getting the full benefit from. Spend a bit less, save a bit more! It all adds up.
At this point, it’s the end of Q1 2023! Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun and saving money towards your retirement!
Use this time to reevaluate your finances and actions you took over the last three months. Did you save as much as you planned to? If the answer is yes, find ways on how you can try to save even more over the next quarter. And if your answer is no, maybe it’s time to consider speaking to a professional on how you can make your money work harder for you through smarter investments.
It’s tax season! By April, you should have your taxes completed and filed. If this is a task that is overwhelming for you when it comes to your personal taxes, consider hiring an accountant you trust to take on the work. This is a great example of how to use the funds saved in your “things I forgot to budget for” list!
If you have kids, April 27th is Teach Children to Save Day, sponsored by the American Bankers Association. This program is designed to help young people develop savings habits early on and setting them up to be successful savers when they are adults. We love this initiative!
Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 14th. While spending money to show the moms, grandmothers, and mother-figures in your life how much you love and appreciate them isn’t necessary, you may want to spend some of your saved dollars from your gifting budget on flowers, cards, or other gifts. You could also consider hosting a brunch at your home to save on costs of going out to a restaurant.
Memorial Day is also in May, and typically, there are many sales and great deals at retailers. If you’re saving up for a large purchase, it may be smart to wait until the items you intend to purchase are on sale.
And just that, we’re halfway through 2023. Use this time in Q2 to organize any tax payments you need to submit if you are self-employed.
For your personal finances, this is another great time to reflect on what you’ve been able to accomplish over the past 6 months. Life can throw us curve balls at any moment, so maybe you’ve incurred an expense you didn’t think you’d have to pay for. If you have to dip into your emergency savings, consider focusing on paying the money back to get back on track.
When it comes to your retirement savings, discuss options with your financial advisor. Is now a good time to pivot to a different investment strategy given the health of the market? Ask all of the questions you may have so that you can make the greatest impact on your savings plan for the remainder of 2023.
Father’s Day is also a holiday in June, so like Mother’s Day, decide how much you’d like to spend on gifts for dad. But remember, the greatest gift we have with our loved ones is time! And quite often, spending quality time is free.
July and August:
It’s summertime! And no, not every month in the year is all about saving (because the whole point is to save more now so you can enjoy more later). Now is the time to go on those vacations you’ve been saving for, knowing that you’ve set yourself up financially to not incur debt while you’re exploring a new place.
Labor Day falls in September, which is another good day for sales on large purchases. If you’re a planner and like to get all of your holiday shopping done ahead of time, consider buying your gifts now to take advantage of the great deals. December will be here before you know it!
With summer ending, the kids going back to school, and work starting to pick up again, it’s not a bad idea to relook at your budget to see if any new expenses will be coming up this month. Life tends to get busy in the fall and unexpected costs can come up when we least expect it.
Q3 will be closing at the end of the month as well. Consider making adjustments to your retirement plans if there have been any changes to your income, such as a raise, to see what kind of impact you can make for the next three months of 2023.
October is the last month before the busyness of the holidays start up. Now is a really good time to hone in on your finances and ensure that you have enough saved for the expenses you have coming up.
November and December:
The holidays are here and it’s a very fun, yet sometimes overwhelming time of year!
Whether you’re hosting friends or need to travel to get to your family’s gatherings, make sure you are not spending too much and outside of your means. It’s a good idea to reevaluate your budget and ensure you are not allocating too much money to gifts and one-off holiday expenses. You don’t want to go into 2024 without an emergency savings– you never know what could happen, and it’s a good idea to be prepared!
At the end of the year, make sure to take time to look back and see all that you’ve accomplished. Write down your achievements, learnings, challenges, and questions about how you can do better at saving in 2024. Bring this list to your next appointment with your financial advisor to discuss the best course of action moving forward.
And there you have it! A month to month look at how you can take control of your finances in 2023.
We know that everyone’s financial situation is unique, so if you have questions on how to make 2023 the most impactful for your family’s future in retirement, get in touch with us. Knowing which funds to move to, when to move, or whether to move anything at all is part of what makes Artesys a much better alternative to trying to manage a retirement account alone.