Hoping to get ahead financially this year? While it’s helpful to maintain positive expectations, hope can only go as far as your actions allow. The key to success is settings goals, developing a plan and sticking with it.
To get started, here are some tips:
1. Review the Past
It’s important to review the past year to assess how you did in the areas you were hoping to make progress in. If you did well in an area, consider how you could do even better this year. If you didn’t do well, don’t beat yourself up. Just ask yourself, “What steps can I take to overcome those pitfalls this year?”
2. Educate & Inspire Yourself
Having a vision of the life you want to live can be a powerful means of achieving your goals. But the reality is that the daily challenges of daily life tempt all of us to focus on the negative. To overcome this, take time to listen to an inspirational financial audiobook or read about a successful person that you admire and dream about the life you want to live.
To get started, here are two classic books that can be life-changing, “Rich Dad; Poor Dad” and “Think and Grow Rich.” Both are available in audio if you don’t have time to read or don’t like to read.
If you are struggling to get out of debt, you could sign up for financial counseling at Select FCU or take a local Dave Ramsey course.
3. Build Consensus with Family Members
Make sure to include your family members in the two steps above. If they understand your challenges and goals and the motivation behind your plans, your entire effort will be much more successful. Good communication is also essential from the beginning and will remain critical to achieving your goals.
4. Set Realistic Goals
It may be tempting to set goals like, “We’re never eating out this year,” or “I am never going to Starbucks,” but those kinds of ultimatums are a recipe for failure. Avoid the word “never” in your goals and leave yourself some wiggle room for an occasional creature comfort. If you don’t, you will become discouraged and drop out of your plan altogether. So maybe instead of saying “never,” you could say, “I will plan just one special outing with a friend to Starbucks per month.”
Tricks to keep on track:
Setting goals can be fun and bring a lot of hope to your situation. Keeping focused on those goals is the challenge for most people. To overcome these issues, it will take a combination of planning and discipline. Here are a few things you can do to improve your potential for success.
· Use Financial Tools
It’s never been easier to take care of finances than it is today with all of the digital resources available. From phone apps to manage your bank account balances to apps that help you budget and record expenses on the go, you can manage your money with minimal hassle.
· Automate Your Savings
Life gets busy, and it’s easy to forget to transfer money into your savings account. The good news is that you can set up an auto-transfer to send a certain amount of money into your savings accounts each month.
· Set a Weekly Appointment With Yourself to Review Your Status
To improve your chances of success, set a meeting with yourself each week to review spending and reallocate budget items if anything unexpected has come up. If you work Monday through Friday, Saturday morning is a great time to reassess and figure out how much money you have left to spend. Also, make note of any areas you messed up on so you can avoid them during the next week.