Do you still remember your last New Year’s resolutions? Probably not. With a couple of months or so left, you can still redeem yourself by making a new set and attaining it eventually.
With a realistic financial plan, you have no excuse for failing to achieve your goals. The advantage of making resolutions at the beginning of every year is the renewed motivation and positivity we all feel. Renewing your goals can be the impetus we need to ultimately reach our aspirations. Here are five tips to follow:
Five Financial Goals most often listed
1. Be Debt-Free
We all want to live debt-free, if we only could. Who would want to feel bad each time we let go of our precious earned-money to pay off housing or car loans? This goal is at the top of the list for majority of people. However, without a plan, many fail to achieve freedom from debt.
How to attain debt freedom:
List down every debt you wish to remove from your life. For instance, if you want to tackle only loans and credit cards in the meantime and leave off car and housing mortgages, specify it in your plan. In case you do not know how to make a plan, refer to DebtGoal, an online tool to help you compute the exact interest you need to pay.
In order to enhance your level of success, target a specific time to pay off a debt and lay aside a regular amount you are willing to pay within the set period to reduce or eliminate the debt.
2. Set up and apply a Budget
Like many people, I resolved to improve my budget a few years back. For a while, everything went well until I got sideswiped literally and figuratively in a car accident which set me back financially. It took me some time to regain balance in my life in balance. With a new and improved budget in hand, things have been brighter.
A budget, always remember, should be kept in good working condition, just like a car. Financial needs are dynamic variables and not static ones; hence, a budget must adapt according to the actual changes along the way if you hope to succeed at it.
How to set up an effective budget:
You can make use of various simple budgeting strategies and applications. Take for instance the envelope-budgeting tool called Mvelopes, or you can budget automatically through such online methods available at Mint.com or You Need a Budget to help you succeed.
If these tools do not fit your particular situation, experiment with various apps until you find the most suited program to satisfy your needs. The important thing is to have a budget to which you can feel comfortable with and which can provide you the needed discipline to make it happen for you. Taking a detour -- such as buying a widescreen TV because you saw one at a friend’s home and not because it is in your budget -- is the path to financial disaster.
3. Save a certain amount of cash
Having some cash money kept safely in a bank, say $15,000, $50,000, or even $100,000, would put anyone in an enviable position of not having to worry about suddenly being out of a job for months or even years. That money can be a great stress-reliever during these uncertain times.
How to save money:
You can do some computation and self-evaluation as to how much you can seriously afford to give up in terms of saving some cash every month. Is it $20 weekly or $100 or even $300? However, if you cannot let go of even $5 in your tight budget, take stock of your expenses and see what you can do. Is it the regular weekly movie trip you need to give up? Well, if you have cable TV, stay at home instead to watch a movie. Or instead of the regular resto dinners with the family or spouse, cook at home and save $20 or more weekly for your nest egg. Compute how much you can save monthly toward a yearend (or a two-year-period) purchase you want to aim for – perhaps, a brand-new PC or a family vacation abroad.
4. Throw away that credit card
Perhaps, you are just thinned out completely to repay debts this year and you simply wish to free yourself of the torturous credit card. That is a commendable goal although hard to do.
How to wean yourself away from the card:
First: Shred them -- period! Do not believe they will matter when some emergency comes. The card can become a cruel master you do not need. To protect yourself against any contingency, set up an emergency fund before throwing away your card. Just get rid of it.
Second: Stop using your credit line. Having access to a credit line will easily pull you into making use of it when you feel the need and you are at your weakest, putting yourself deeper in debt. In majority of cases, credit cards are vanity magnets, leading people to make unnecessary purchases, such as jewelry, expensive shoes or bags and the latest gadgets, things that will not help you when you are starving or caught in a catastrophe. Thinking this way will help many consider seriously the true value of money.
5. Purchase a high-priced item
If you have always wanted to buy a new car, a dream house or invest in a business, do whatever you can to make it happen as a reward for your living a frugal life all these years. Having the motivation and the discipline to achieve such a goal will teach you to aim for essential things and to control your expenses at the same time. The important thing to remember is to keep your finances and your life intact.
How to achieve your prized dreams:
Assess how much you can spare every month as amortization. During the sales negotiation, stick to your figure, no matter how much you like the item you dream for. Likewise, bring someone who is an expert in the item you are buying, a realtor or a mechanic to advise you on the nuances of the item. A trusted friend or professional will go a long way toward preventing a bad deal and achieving a satisfying negotiation that results in a lifetime of enjoyment.
No matter how small or big your financial objectives are, the primary strategy for success requires having a solid plan and making it work. Like thousands before you, you can also do it!
Everyone has a unique story to tell in their pursuit of financial security or success? Write to us and let us know you own wonderful story.