1. When Budgeting—account for everything.

When creating a budget or spending goal for the year, we forget the most important things. Account for that lunch you have every week with friends or the monthly movie date you have with your family. Remember special occasions like birthdays and holidays so you don’t find yourself unprepared when they happen. 

2. Contribute a little more toward your retirement.

Consider raising your contribution by a few percentage points every year. This will help to increase the account value and prepare you for the things we don’t think about in retirement, like health and inflation. You most likely won’t even notice that extra 3 percent missing from your paycheck.

3. Make saving a habit.

If you find saving money difficult, make it a habit. If you mostly use cash, take the few dollars or change you get from breaking a big bill and put it away. Use debit cards? Transfer a small amount of every paycheck to a different account the day you get paid. Saving small amounts over long periods of time will equal large amounts of money.

4. Reward yourself.

Hard work deserves a reward. Even if you’re having a hard time making ends meet, reward yourself every now and then. If all you ever do is save and pay bills, you may forget why you’re working so hard in the first place. Once a month, reward your successes: Enjoy that $5 coffee or spend a little more when going out to lunch. 

5. Be charitable.

When you give money away to something you believe in, it doesn’t only feel good, it comes back to you. Many of us feel a bit more charitable around the holidays, but consider it throughout the year to get to that good feeling all year long and watch your mood and financial situation improve.

Krista Pasionek is the national vice president of Manifest Wealth/Five Rings Financial, specializing in financial education and helping families, business owners and entrepreneurs build and protect their wealth. Reach her at 303.408.2668 or LivingBenefitsExperts.com/Krista.