If 2018 is your year to get more financially fit, it’s important to set goals. Those goals should move you in the right direction without being too stressful or making you bite off more than you can chew. If you want to stick with your resolution, it’s important to take things one at a time. Here are 12 months of financial goals you can start putting in place today.
If you don’t have a budget, you’ll have no idea where your money is going. Examine your expenses, download some apps, or get a friend to help you…but create and stick to a reasonable budget.
2. Make a Shopping List
Don’t go to the grocery store or big-box shop, make a list of everything you need to buy. Check your pantry, fridge, and freezer to make sure you aren’t putting things on your list that you already have. Then when you hit the store, ONLY buy what’s on that list. Use printable lists or a planner if you like.
3. Plan Meals
Plan your meals, and you’ll have an easy time making that grocery list. You always spend more when you go to the store 30 minutes before dinner time, or when you’re already hungry and looking for something quick and easy. Meal planning is a big money saver. Never hurts to grow some of your own food, either.
4. Don’t Use the Plastic
As much as you can avoid it, use cash. In fact, use cash for everything in your budget that you can. Withdrawing your budget’s worth of cash every week or month will keep you from overspending with a little bit of discipline. After all, when the money’s gone, it’s gone.
5. Stop Going for Convenience
Convenience foods, convenience fees, laundry or dry cleaning services, and other conveniences can save us time, but they almost never save us money. Do as much as you can for yourself, especially cooking real food. You’ll save money and your health.
6. Cut Spending
Living within your means is the best way to avoid debt — and interest. Sure, newer clothes and a nice new car would hit the spot, but how much do you really need those things? Distinguish between wants and needs, and stick with the wants.
7. Pay Bills on Time
No matter how it feels, you’re not saving money by delaying payments and missing due dates. Not only will you end up paying late fees, but you’ll likely hurt your credit score.
8. Stop the Impulses
Impulse buying is a huge money waster. Candy bars and magazines at the checkout, that pair of earrings on an irresistible sale, you know the drill. It’s all about merchandising and getting you to spend more. Don’t fall for it.
9. Beat Boredom
Do you shop when you’re bored? A lot of people do. Instead, go for a walk. Find a new hobby. Watch a movie. Head to the park with the kids.
10. Track Spending
If you use cash, the envelope system is a great way to keep track of what you’re spending and how. Balance your checkbook even if you use a debit card. Review your bank statements to see where you spent money. You can even use apps that track all of this for you when you use your debit card.
11. Stay Away from Sales
But you’re saving money, right? Not if it’s something that you don’t need or wouldn’t ordinarily buy. In that case, no matter how good the sale is, you’re just making an extra expenditure that you probably didn’t plan on. Don’t go shop the sales just for the heck of it. Shop with a specific purpose — one that’s actually a need — then look for the best deal on those things.
12. Make Goals
That’s what you’re doing here, right? At the end of the year, review your goals and be honest with yourself on what you did well and what you could do better. Then, work on the sticky parts for next year.
Plan Meals: http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/grocery-shopping-list/http://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/grocery-shopping-list/
Plan Meals: https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/food/meal-planning-that-works/
Don’t Use Plastic: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/good-and-bad-carrying-cash
Stop Going for Convenience: http://www.jaaustralia.org/blog/stop-wasting-money-how-to-cut-on-convenience-purchases-but-still-have-fun.-financial-literacy
Cut Spending: https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-ways-to-cut-your-spending-this-week
Pay Bills on Time: http://www.frugalfanatic.com/7-simple-ways-save-money-time-paying-bills/
Stop Impulse Buying: http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-stop-impulse-buying
Beat Boredom: https://www.wikihow.com/Overcome-Boredom
Track Spending: https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2017/08/17/6-ways-to-track-your-spending/#369a683f4650
Stop Shopping Sales: http://time.com/money/3070984/overspending-overconsumption-stuff/
Set Goals: https://www.kiplinger.com/article/investing/T023-C000-S001-how-to-set-financial-goals.html