New Year’s Resolutions – Olympic Style!Carol
- Define your goals as precise as a balance beam routine. Having your short, intermediate and long-term goals so precisely defined that at any moment you know where you stand, will go a long way towards keeping them in front of your memory AND money. If you know that spending $200 on dinner is delaying your retirement by 37 ½ days, will that make you think twice? If you want to be non-mortgage debt free, define the date such as July 4, 2024, and how much you need to put towards the debt each month to get there. If you don’t know exactly what you need to save and by when there’s little chance you’ll get there. Balance beams require precise and narrow focus. Make your goals (and what you need to do to reach them on time) resolutions that precise! We can help calculate what you need.
- Track your spending like a well-trained hurdle jumper. Programs like Mint.com (free and safe) make tracking spending and doing taxes easy. It takes about 20 minutes to set up and then 15 – 30 minutes each week to maintain and review so you make good decisions. It seems silly that we spend more than 30% of our life energy making money and then ignore it. Spending this time will help you make decisions that will get you what you really want. It will tell you things such as you’re spending more on your kid’s entertainment than on their education funding or that your lunch habit is replacing that vacation you want.
- Study your variable expenses like you would the Olympic Equestrian Jumping challenge. It’s the non-routine expenses that cause people problems; tires, car repairs, gifts, haircuts, clothing, back to school, vacations, illnesses, home repairs, taxes, etc. Those expenses don’t have to cause problems. We can predict them. We may not know when they will hit but with a little effort, we can estimate about how much in a year we will spend and then build that into our budget so we are ready to clear the jump in front of us. Each month move money into an account specifically for those expenses and then track how much you’ve spent so far, each month and make adjustments. Programs like Mint make this easy.
- Manage your money like training for a marathon. You’ve got to spend time several times a week in order to run a marathon. Mark your calendar for 30 min a week and 2 hours a month for managing your money. (Hey, that’s much less time than marathon training!) Controlling finances takes either time or more money. We all know what happens when a bill gets late – fees, plus lower credit score pushes out your debt free date, which also pushes out your retirement date and increases stress which makes people sick, which costs more money, which…. You get the picture. Taking care of stuff in a timely manner is critical. Check out the Money Minute on Critical Tasks and get them on your calendar.
- Treat Money like a Team Sport. Athletes who train with other competitive athletes get better. Find a money buddy who wants to succeed and stays on track as much as you do. Create a routine where you hold each other accountable. Get the family involved too. Sticking to a budget requires everybody knowing the goals.
We’re here to help you reach your goals. We have great resources to help you reach your goals. Below are some examples of our favorite new year’s resolutions.
- I’m going to reach my debt free date on July 4, 2021 and celebrate with fireworks! To do that I am going to cut my grocery bill by $50 per month and add that to my $387 current debt payments I am making now.
- Improve my credit score by 50 points so I can refinance the debt to a lower rate by next year.
- Work 2 extra weekends and take the money I make to jumpstart my variable expense fund and move $530 each month into the variable expense fund so when the car or house breaks, vacation comes or everything else, I have the money sitting there ready to pay it without charging.
- Manage my mail and do one financial to do item each day. If I haven’t got it done by 8 pm, I have to turn off the TV for the rest of the night and can’t watch my favorite shows. My husband agrees to do the same thing.
- I’m going to review my homeowners, auto, umbrella, and life insurance in the first quarter to see if I can save money, which I am going to put towards our vacation.
- I’m going to research ways to save money each month and implement something new each month and track my savings.
- I’m moving from cable to an antenna and put my share of the money towards live sports events cause they’re more fun and my wife said I could. We will have saved around $1400 after I pay for the antenna and I get 2/3!
- I’m going to start teaching my kids about money by giving them an allowance of $15 per week each that includes money to plan for future activities and 15% of their college funding. This week we will set up goals and a budget. I will act as their savings account and they must report weekly before they get their allowance. They will also have some opportunities to earn money beyond the chores required to get their allowance.
We can help you make meaningful resolutions and stick with them. Just ask.