Will Simple Changes Empower Your Finances?

It’s important to be thoughtful about your spending.

As we approach a new year, one of your New Year’s resolutions may be to get your finances in check. For you, that could mean paying off debt, finally making good on your dream to buy a house, or looking to the future and helping your child open their first savings account.

However, it could also mean taking a closer look at your day-to-day finances. Although we may focus on big-ticket items like vehicles and vacation funds, our smaller expenses may go unwatched. That doesn’t mean they don’t add up.

Recent research has suggested that Americans spend about $18,000 each year on wants—not needs. So, does that mean you shouldn’t go to the gym or out to lunch? Not necessarily.

In a conversation with The New York Times’s Smarter Living column, personal finance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard instead suggested we simply “try to be thoughtful about spending.”

We’re constantly making choices and trade-offs that affect our financial and emotional well-being. Should I pay more for housing so I can live closer to work and spend less time on the train and more time with family and friends? Or should I pay less for a home but increase my commuting stress? Those types of financial decisions—how much house to buy, for example, or buying a more economical car—will go a lot further than agonizing over lattes.

Here’s Some Money Advice: Just Buy the Coffee

So, as you approach the next year of your life, think holistically about your finances.

It may be more prudent to take in the whole picture of your spending instead of hyper-focusing on a daily habit.

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