It’s that time of the year again. You know, that time when we all frantically make financial resolutions for the new year, set out a plan, and then lose momentum by the time the next holiday comes around. But it’s time to stick to your money resolutions once and for all.
Let’s switch things up this year. Let’s set money goals that we can actually stick to and accomplish in the long term.
In this post, we will look at simple yet effective steps to help you not only accomplish your financial goals, but also stick to them for years to come.
Step 1: Breathe and Get Your Head Straight
Before you start any project, no matter how small, you need to be in the right head space.
Money is a touchy subject for many, and just the thought of budgeting can bring up a number of triggers including how your childhood impacted you and your relationship with money. Be prepared for these moments, especially when working with a partner.
Take a few moments to breathe, set up your budget workstation, and give yourself the space you need to find clarity and work confidently to get your finances in order.
Having a dedicated physical space to work on your financial plan also helps get you in the right mindset whenever you review the progress you’ve made on your resolutions.
Step 2: Set Up a Spending Plan That You Will Understand
“Spending plan” and “budget” are interchangeable terms to describe one thing: a structured plan for where you spend and save your money.
It’s simple in theory, but in practice, a budget can be a headache. There are so many variables to consider and plan for, which is why it’s essential to set up a spending plan that you can understand and follow.
The many spreadsheets that take an accountant to decipher won’t work for you if you don’t possess the skill set needed to decode them.
The easy way to set up a budget
In the same way, if you can’t tell what’s happening in your budget at a glance, then it’s probably time to simplify it. That’s why we like the customizable and automated budgeting in the Nav.it money app. You can categorize expenses, track spending, and reflect on how each purchase made you feel. Best of all, it’s with you everywhere your phone is.
However you choose to set up your budget, make sure you account for the following:
- Retirement savings
- Emergency fund
- Debt, such as credit card debt and student loan debt
In short, your spending plan should account for all income and expenses, as well as some extra money set aside for emergencies or a special treat for yourself.
Step 3: When picking Your Financial Resolution, Set Specific and Small Goals First
Once you are aware of how much money you have at your disposal, it’s time to start working toward your financial goals.
But where to start?
The answer is easy: start small, and be detailed about what you want to do with your money.
The easiest goals to achieve are the small ones.
For example, let’s say you want to save up to buy a car, but you don’t have sufficient cash flow to contribute more than ten dollars a month. That small amount, which may seem like just a drop in the ocean, will eventually contribute to your goal.
What’s more, fostering this habit of saving, no matter the amount, will become a part of your daily life. This will lead to better financial awareness in the future, and the ability to reach larger goals.
Step 4: See to Yourself First When Pursuing Your Financial Resolutions
Many people don’t view saving as an investment in themselves. However, whether you are saving for a new apartment, a new coat, or even a concert ticket to see your favorite band, you are putting aside money for things that will benefit you. Afterall, managing your finances means prioritizing your spending and making sure it aligns with your values. Sure that could mean tightening your budget so you could upskill at work, but that doesn’t necessarily restricting completely.
A note of caution….
Before anything else, set aside the money that will be spent on your financial needs.
Now, be careful here, because this doesn’t mean you should give money to yourself to spend just as you like. Rather, it means saving that money towards those goals you have set up.
To prevent yourself from falling into the trap of instant gratification, which is common when you’re faced with financial troubles, set up an automated debit order off your account every month.
That way, the money that you set aside for yourself will be moved straight from your current account into your savings account.
Step 5: Be Ready for Emergencies and Failure
Setting financial goals that you can actually achieve is hard when unexpected expenses crop up.
Be prepared for these situations, and when they do occur, remember that it is not a sign of failure. You can use these moments as reminders to further review and adjust your financial situation. Afterall, overcoming setbacks are part of your journey.
Remember, when you don’t meet the financial and savings goals you have set, go easy on yourself. These are lessons that we all can learn from. Use them as a learning opportunity rather than seeing them as a failure.
Pro-tip: Setting up an emergency fund can help you overcome financial obstacles that can impede your progress.
Step 6: Review and Revise Weekly to Stick to Your Money Resolution
Remember that budget workstation we mentioned earlier? Well, this is where it really comes into play.
Mark a day of the week on your calendar when you will review your budget (what went wrong, what went right) and revise where needed.
There is always room for improvement, and these weekly budget meetings with yourself or your partner will go a long way in helping you set up healthy spending habits.
Furthermore, during the month, keep a journal of the money that you spent and the areas where you saved.
And don’t forget to celebrate the victories, no matter how small. You deserve to be happy when you achieve something, even if it’s just saving ten dollars.
Step 7: Tell a Friend, Recruit an Accountability buddy, or Lean on Someone with a Little more Expertise.
If money resolutions are your thing, then you know how hard it can be to stay on track. We all start out motivated and excited for the new year, but a few weeks in, that enthusiasm often fizzles out. That’s why working with an accountability partner or money coach is such a great idea—it helps you stay the course and achieve your money goals.
Having an accountability partner means you have someone to check in with regularly, helping you stay focused on what’s important. Whether it’s setting up a budget or tracking expenses, they can provide guidance along the way. Plus, having someone there to cheer you on when things get tough is always a nice bonus.
A money coach can also give you more specific advice about money management and money resolutions. They can help you develop strategies for achieving your goals, provide analysis of money decisions, and make sure you stay on track with the plan. Plus, money coaches are great resources for understanding money myths, staying informed on the latest money trends, and learning the basics of money management.
Working with an accountability partner or money coach can be a huge help in sticking to your money resolutions this year.
Stick to your Money Resolution
Sticking to your financial resolutions, and we mean really sticking to them, requires focus and dedication to a goal. But first, you have to take that first step, no matter how small it is.
Your goal of achieving financial freedom awaits. And there is no better time to start than now.
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