4 financial challenges to overcome in 2023
By Jackie Lam
Apr 25, 2023
Read time: 3 min
Ever check your balance, only to realize there are more days in the month than dollars in your bank account? It's a facepalm moment, no doubt. With a side order of dread.
If you feel the weight of financial stress (raises hand!), there are smart money moves you can make in 2023 that can lead to big changes. Here are top financial hurdles to overcome this year and a few suggestions for how to go about them:
Hurdle #1: You’re in the dark about your money
Think of it this way: If you're a truck driver heading toward a new place with no GPS or map, how can you reach your destination?
Your destination = your money goals. Maybe your goal is to replace your car. Or to save up the down payment for a house. Or to pay off your smallest credit card balance.
Make a spending plan that includes working toward your goals. You’ll need to know what money is coming in and where it’s going. Then you can line up your actions with your intentions.
Your spending plan—aka budget—doesn’t have to be restrictive like a diet. It can be flexible. Because once you have your pulse on what you have to work with each month, you can make spending and saving decisions based on your needs, wants, and joy. And that's true power.
Track your money. You can do it the old fashioned way, with pen and paper, or you can use an app like Achieve MoLO. You’ll get a good idea of your spending patterns after a month or two, but it may take six months or longer to capture everything—like one-offs or once-a-year expenses. Once you know how much money is coming in and where it’s going, you can make changes (if you want to).
Hurdle #2: On-again, off-again savings
If you only save money once in a while, it’ll take longer to build up a fund.
We'll say it once, and we'll scream it from the rooftops if we need to: Automation is your friend. By automating your savings, you don't have to do the work of stashing money. The work is being done for you in the background. It's a beautiful thing.
You can automate from the source or at the destination. If you get a digital paycheck, you might be able to log in and tell the paycheck app how to divide your direct deposits between checking and savings. Or you might be able to log into your bank account and create the rules there.
You don’t need a ton of money to start automating. You can start with $5 a week, if you have it to spare. Don't believe us? If you save $5 a week, that adds up to $260 a year. Bump that up to $10 a week and you have a sweet $520 at year's end.
The key is to label your savings goals. Make them cute, make them funny, make them unique to you. Personalizing can make you feel even more excited about these little pots of money.
Hurdle #3: Money is short
You can only cut back on so many expenses before you end up living in a van. On the flip side, your earning potential may be bigger than you think it is.
We get it. “Make more money” is easier said than done.
Here's the thing: side hustling doesn't have to be grueling, or tedious, or exhausting. Maybe you can find a way to bring in money doing something that comes easily. For example, if you enjoy your garden, sell seedlings online. If you’re an artist, offer a drawing class online. If your garage isn’t full or cluttered, rent out storage space.
Hurdle #4: You don’t have a debt payoff plan
It’s only by knowing the details of your debt that you can truly crush it. (And you will indeed crush it.)
First, round up all of your debts using a debt pay down app like Achieve GOOD. Fair warning: this could be a rude awakening. Do it anyway. It’s better to look your debt straight in the eye. You can’t slay a dragon with a blindfold on.
Next, explore your options. If you're a homeowner, you might be able to use a home equity loan to consolidate your debts. If not, a personal loan might help. Either one can help you save money, set a clear payoff date, or both.
If you’re struggling to keep up, you might want to talk to a debt advisor about your options. You can get a free debt assessment to learn which path might be right for you.
If these goals feel huge, join the club. But they aren’t too huge for you to accomplish. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. By making a commitment to tackle some of the most common financial challenges, you’ve already taken the first step toward becoming the master of your money.