Everybody loves a good New Years Resolution. 2019 is the year for you to make resolutions that will make you financially healthier, wealthier and wiser!
1.Set achievable goals
It’s the beginning of the year so of course you are setting financial goals for yourself for 2019, right? My advice? Make sure they are achievable. For example, chances are, it’s not possible to pay off ALL your debt this year, but you CAN set an achievable goal like paying off a credit card or maybe you removing your credit cards from your wallet so you don’t use them this year. Just like diet goals, if your money goals aren’t reasonable, you aren’t going to be able to stick with them and all you end up doing is making yourself feel like you failed. Set an achievable goal and not only will you find yourself ahead when you get to December, you will feel amazing because you succeeded.
2. Commit to baby steps
Ever chase a toddler across the room? They are fast. Really fast. They have these short little legs and tiny feet, yet they can scream across a room. Baby steps can get you where you want to go really fast. The same applies when you start working your way towards the financial goals you set. Keep your eye on the goal, but focus on the baby steps right in front of you. You will get to your goal faster than you can believe possible.
3. Track your money
Money is incredibly fluid. As fast as it comes in, it goes right back out. It’s incredibly important to keep track of where it comes from and where it goes. I’ve been watching mine on a daily or weekly basis for 25 years, and sometimes I still get surprised. Best of all, it doesn’t have to be hard. I love mint.com. It’s made by Intuit who also makes Quickbooks and Turbotax. Mint is free and super easy to use. Make this the year you keep track of where your money comes from and where it goes. Hmmm…..that kind of sounds like an Achievable Goal!
4. Make a plan for new money in your life
I’m willing to bet that at some point in 2019 there will be some extra money that enters your life. Maybe it’s a tax refund, a raise, a bonus, money from a side job, an inheritance, or if you’re a super lucky person, maybe you’ll win the lottery (I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you). Create a plan, today, for what that money will do for you. Extra money is the fastest way to get ahead financially. Use it to pay down debt or jump start your savings. But wait….make sure you also carve out a little piece to celebrate the reward. Getting a $1,000 bonus? Plan on spending $50 on something for you. You don’t need to spend the whole $1,000 to feel good. Spend $50 and put $995 in an investment account. 10 years from now (heck in December), you will be incredibly happy you did.
5. Plan a spend free weekend
My husband, Tom, and I do this on a regular basis. Plan a weekend where you won’t spend a dime. It’s an interesting exercise. Most of us spend money without really thinking about it. This exercise helps you identify what conscious spending feels like. We are most successful when we spend our money with purpose. This first step to doing that is to stop spending. Try it for a weekend. Go for a walk. Find free things to do. Read a book. Play with your kids. Go for a hike. Try some new recipes. There are so many things you can do. At the end of the weekend , reflect on how it went. Did you feel anxious or peaceful? Did you find some new things you like to do? Did you reconnect with your spouse and your kids? Your money free weekend just may become a mini-get away from life you start looking forward to. Want to take it a step further? Figure out how much money you saved and direct that toward a goal. Put it to a credit card balance or add it to a savings account. Every time you manage your money with purpose, you’ll feel stronger, more in control, and more confident that your money is working FOR you instead of against you.