Monday, December 30, 2013

"I'm Going to Spend Less and Save More"

If there's one resolution that's ripe for big promises and crushing failure, it's the vague intent to do "better" with your finances. Whether it's to "spend less money" or a promise to "save more", here are some more specific goals you should try: "I will create and stick to a monthly (or weekly) budget." Instead of promising to "shop less" for the entire year, take a look at your monthly budget for January and allocate everything to a specific purpose. If you've never done this before, start with our Adult Budgeting 101 guide and track it with a tool like Mint. Then, make sure you review and tweak it it every week or month (that's the actionable part) to make sure you stick to it. "I'm going to set aside money automatically." As long as you budget well, there's no need to "resolve" to save anything. You can split your direct deposits, schedule automatic withdrawals to external accounts, or use banks like Simple that allow you to slowly withdraw small amounts of money over time. "I'll cut down these three major bills." You can refrain from getting Starbucks every day, which will save you $4-5 a day or about $100 or so a month. However, another way to save is to shave $200 off your car payment or power bill, which is stressful less frequently and can potentially yield a much higher reward. Your three biggest expenses are probably housing, transportation and food, so if you're looking to save money, start there. The best part about financial resolutions is that they're easy to quantify. If you want to improve your finances in the new year, start by picking a number. Whether it's for the year, the month, or the day, giving yourself a specific amount of money you want to save can help narrow down your resolution to something that's specific enough to pull off.

No comments:

Post a Comment