9 Things to Leave Behind in the New Year | Build Better Financial Habits in 2024

9 Things to Leave Behind in the New Year | Build Better Financial Habits in 2024


Feature image of fireworks.

Ready to start the new year on a fresh financial note? You're not alone. No doubt 2023 was rough, and there are certain things to leave behind in the new year. 

It's time to leave behind old financial habits that no longer serve us and make room for better ones that will improve our financial health. In this article, we will explore nine things that you should leave behind in the new year to pave the way for a better financial future.

Whether it's overspending, neglecting to save, or failing to track your expenses, it's time to bid these bad habits farewell.

Read on to explore the nine things to leave behind in the new year and embrace better ways to manage our finances for a brighter future.

People cheering with glasses in the air.Things to Leave Behind in the New Year

By leaving behind these not-so-good financial practices and adopting healthier alternatives, you can set yourself up for success in 2024.

We'll discuss practical tips and strategies to help you make the necessary changes and achieve your financial goals.

Let's get to it!

Not Assessing Your Financial Habits

Close up image of person holding magnifying glass to money.

The first step in creating better financial habits is to assess your current financial situation. Take a close look at your income, expenses, and spending patterns. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and help you identify areas for improvement.

Start by tracking your expenses for a month. Make a note of every purchase, whether it's a cup of coffee, some snacks, or a new pair of shoes. You've got to track it. This will help you identify any unnecessary spending and areas where you can cut back.

Next, review your budget. If you don't have one, now is the time to create one. A budget will help you allocate your income to different categories (i.e., food, travel, accommodation, etc) and ensure that you're not overspending in any area. It will also help you prioritize your financial goals and make informed decisions about your spending.

Lastly, assess your saving habits. Are you saving enough for emergencies, your retirement, or other long-term goals? If not, it's time to make it a priority and learn how to save money.

By taking the time to assess your financial habits, you'll gain valuable insights into your current situation and be better equipped to make positive changes. Don't underestimate the power of this first step in improving your financial health 🤞.

Read more: Assessing your financial habits and prioritizing your financial goals plays a huge role in practicing financial self-care

Impulsive Spending

Woman shopping on tablet with credit or debit card in hand.

I know, I know. Who can resist that row of snacks and sweets as you're waiting in a queue? But let's be real: Impulsive spending can be a significant roadblock to achieving your financial goals.

It's easy to get caught up in the desire for sweet, instant gratification or excitement of a sale. However, giving in to these impulses (consistently, over a sustained period of time) can have long-term consequences for your financial well-being.

To break free from impulsive spending, it may help to understand the underlying reasons behind it. Are you trying to fill an emotional void with material possessions? Are you using shopping to help relieve stress? Once you identify these triggers, you can find healthier alternatives to satisfy your needs.

Personally, one effective strategy I've found helpful is to implement a 24-hour rule. Before making any non-essential purchase, I try to give myself 24 hours to think it over. This "cooling-off period" allows me to evaluate whether I really "need" to place that UberEATS or Checkers Sixty60 order or I'm just satisfying a craving 🤷‍♀️.

Another helpful tip is to create a list of your financial goals and refer to it whenever you feel the urge to spend impulsively. Reminding yourself of the bigger picture can help you stay focused on your priorities and resist the ensnaring trap of temptation.

Additionally, consider unsubscribing from marketing emails and unfollowing social media influencers that promote unnecessary spending. It may sound trivial, but these can largely influence our spending habits. Replace these with practicing mindful consumption and adopting a mindset of financial responsibility.

By letting go of impulsive spending, you'll have more control over your finances. Plus, you'll be able to redirect your resources towards achieving your long-term goals.

Not Breaking Free From Credit Card Debt

Close up image of a gold credit card.

Whether you're a university student or a young professional, credit card debt can be a significant burden on your financial well-being. Often, people find the high interest rates and fees associated with credit cards can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked.

To regain control of your finances, it's crucial to break free from credit card debt.

Thankfully, you can avoid (or mitigate) this by assessing your credit card balances and interest rates. Make a list of your debts, including the outstanding balance, interest rate, and minimum payment due. This will give you a clear picture of the mountain you need to climb and may make your ascent easier.

Next up, create a debt repayment plan. There are two popular strategies you can implement to tackle credit card debt: the snowball method and the avalanche method.

With the snowball method, you focus on paying off the smallest balance first, while with the avalanche method, you tackle the debt with the highest interest rate first.

Choose the strategy that aligns with your financial goals and motivates you to take action. I personally prefer the snowball method. It's easier to do as you feel motivated when knocking out the smaller debts first.

Whichever method you choose, it helps to allocate as much money as possible towards your credit card payments (within reason). Consider cutting back on discretionary expenses or finding ways to increase your income to accelerate your debt repayment.

Breaking free from credit card debt requires discipline and commitment, but the freedom and peace of mind that come with being debt-free? It's oh-so worth it.

Important Tip: It's crucial to try to avoid accumulating more credit card debt while you're paying off existing balances.

Not Saying Goodbye to Unnecessary Subscriptions

Blown Away

Blown Away Clips

Subscription services have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. From streaming platforms like Netflix to meal delivery services, it's easy to end up with a long list of monthly subscriptions without even realizing it.

That said, these seemingly small expenses can add up. Before you know it, they can drain your bank account without you even noticing.

So, how do we solve this? I think it helps to set time aside for some reviewing. Go over all your subscriptions and evaluate their value. Do you use them regularly? Do they align with your financial goals and priorities? If not, it may be time to say goodbye👋.

Canceling unnecessary subscriptions can free up some much-needed money in your budget. Plus, you can redirect these funds toward your emergency savings or debt repayment goals.

Don't want to say goodbye entirely?

Consider alternatives such as free or lower-cost entertainment options. Or arrange for your friend group to pay for family subscription plans.

To prevent future subscriptions from creeping up on you, be sure to be intentional. This can be as simple as noting down renewal dates in your calendar app. On the other hand, you could use budgeting apps that track your subscriptions. It pays to know how much of your income goes towards subscriptions.

Saying goodbye 🙋‍♀️to unnecessary subscriptions can help you save money and regain control over your finances.

Keeping Up With the Joneses (or the Abantu Bazothini Syndrome)


The pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" or worrying about what others will think/say (i.e., abantu bazothini) can lead to a never-ending cycle of comparison and unnecessary spending. Comparison, as they say, is the thief of joy (and your money!). Plus, trying to match someone else's lifestyle or possessions can wreak financial havoc in your life.

I know we say it all the time in the personal finance space, but it's true — everyone's financial situation is unique, and appearances can be deceiving. Instead of comparing yourself to others, why not practice financial self-care and focus on your own financial dreams?

I've found that taking stock of the things that bring me joy and fulfillment makes me happy. I'm also trying to spend more on experiences and relationships rather than material possessions. Ultimately, true wealth comes from financial freedom and peace of mind. It doesn't come from owning the latest gadgets or [insert whatever your spending vice is 😝].

Personally, surrounding myself with like-minded individuals who share my values and respect my financial journey has yielded positive outcomes.

Abandoning the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality and the "Abantu Bazothini syndrome" may take time and effort on your part, but it's essential for your financial well-being.

Embrace your own path and celebrate your financial achievements, no matter how small they may seem to outsiders.

Read more: Taking stock of what’s important to you financially is key to not keeping up with others or being overly concerned about what they’ll think and say about your financial situation.

Being Fearful of Budgeting

Lady working out budget with laptop, cash, and paper.

Oh, boy. We know how people feel when it comes to budgeting. It's often seen as restrictive and overwhelming, leading many to avoid it altogether. However, budgeting is a powerful tool that can help you take control of your finances and get closer to achieving your financial goals.

To leave behind the fear of budgeting, start by reframing your mindset. Instead of thinking of a budget as a restriction, view it as a tool that equips you to make informed financial decisions.

Look at tracking your spending to see where your money is going. Then, create a budget that aligns with your financial goals. I've got a post on budgeting for beginners that's super helpful. Remember to be realistic and flexible with your budget — it's not a prison sentence. You're more than welcome to adjust it as needed to accommodate unexpected expenses or changes in your income.

Lastly, remember that budgeting is not a one-time exercise. It requires regular review and adjustments to ensure it remains effective and relevant. Schedule monthly or quarterly budget check-ins to evaluate your progress and make any necessary changes.

By leaving behind the fear of budgeting, you'll gain control over your finances and be able to make intentional choices that align with your financial goals. Embrace budgeting as a tool for financial empowerment and watch your financial health improve.

Discover more: Get your free simple budget template to help you get started. A gift from me to you 🤗.

Unhealthy Financial Relationships

Rick and Morty

Don't Ask me For Money

Unhealthy financial relationships can hinder your progress toward financial success. Whether it's a toxic partnership, family members who always ask for (or demand) money, or friends who encourage reckless spending, it may be time to re-evaluate these detrimental influences.

In your personal life, you may need to assess personal and professional relationships that have a negative impact on your financial well-being. This could include a partner who is financially irresponsible, a family member who constantly asks for money, or friends who pressure you to spend beyond your means.

While severing ties (perhaps creating some distance?) with unhealthy financial relationships can be challenging, it's essential for your financial growth and well-being. Set boundaries and try to have open and honest (yet kind) conversations with the individuals involved.

Let them know where you stand, what you require from them (i.e., respecting your financial choices), and what you'd like moving forward. Be willing to hear their point of view, too.

Depending on your situation, you may need to seek professional help or guidance from a financial advisor or a licensed therapist. They can provide support and guidance during this process.

Not Embracing a Mindset of Financial Empowerment

The Roku Channel

Victim To Victor

To truly embrace better financial habits in the new year, it's crucial to adopt a mindset of financial empowerment. This mindset involves taking ownership of your financial decisions, building confidence in your ability to manage money, and seeking knowledge and education to improve your financial literacy.

Start by educating yourself about personal finance. Read books, listen to podcasts, and follow reputable financial experts who can provide you with valuable insights and guidance. The more you know about personal finance, the better equipped you'll be to make informed decisions.

Next, set clear financial goals and create a plan to achieve them. Whether it's saving for a car deposit, paying off a store card, or building an emergency fund, having specific goals will help give you direction and motivation.

Oh, and don't forget to celebrate your financial wins, no matter how small they may be. This could be paying off a credit card, sticking to your budget for a month, or negotiating a lower interest rate on a loan. Recognizing your progress and using it as motivation can help you keep moving forward.

Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Things to Leave Behind in the New Year

Got more questions? No worries. Here are some typically asked questions, and answers, people have.

How Do You Plan a New Year Financially?

You can do several things to make 2024 a better financial year:

       Go over your budget (or create one!)

       Build an emergency fund

       Pay off debt

       Create and work towards your financial goals

What's the 50-20-30 Rule?

The 50-20-30 rule is how one manages their budget spending. It entails putting 20% of your money toward savings, 30% toward your wants, and 50% toward your needs.

How Can I Save Money for the New Year?

You can make it a goal (or your New Year’s resolution) to:

       Tackle your debt

       Find ways to cut down on spending

       Save more money

How Do You Create a Budget?

First, identify your income. Then, track your spending to see where your money’s going. You can then come up with financial goals you’d like to achieve. After that, create a budget based on your financial goals, and be sure to manage your spending. Lastly, review your budget each month to assess if you’ve stuck to your budget.

Conclusion: Financial Things to Leave Behind in the New Year

As we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new one, it's time to leave behind the financial habits that hold us back and embrace better ones that will improve our financial health.

By assessing our financial habits, letting go of impulsive spending, and saying goodbye to the "abantu bazothini" mentality, we can set ourselves up for success in the coming year.

Here's to better financial habits and a prosperous new year!

Read more: Keen on making managing your credit better in 2024? Discover more about credit utilization ratios.


This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

The information presented herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional financial advice.

Always talk to your financial advisor about the risks and benefits of any financial information shared. If you are looking for financial advice, kindly speak to somebody who is certified and registered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

eishstudentbudget™ and its owner(s) are not liable for any loss, harm, or damage you may incur as a result of you using the information presented here.

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