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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

By Ines Mato

Every year millions of individuals make a vow to improve their financial standing, but four out of 10 people give up on their goals. Whether your resolution is to save more money, pay off debt, buy a house or cut spending, you know change is not easy. Like many of you, I made a resolution to increase my savings account by 5 percent each month. While 5 percent may seem like a small amount, it’s a start and over time my savings will become thousands of dollars—supposing that I stick to my resolution.

The problem about committing to a resolution is recognizing we need to modify certain habits to accomplish our goals. If every year we make the same resolutions, but we end up in the same place, then something has to change! And that change starts by trying to correct financial habits. Experts at MissMoneyBee.com have 4 tips that will help you stick to your resolutions:

Be specific: Writing a vague resolution is a recipe for disaster. Some people tend to write resolutions that lack details and determination. For example, many of us say “I want to save more money,” or “I want to pay off debt,” but we fail to describe the specifics. Your money resolution should always include the amount of money you are trying to save, the time frame to accomplish your goal and the purpose of your resolution. For example, “I want to save 10 percent of every paycheck over 10 months to buy a new car by December of 2013.”

Be realistic:
Setting realistic resolutions is the key to success. It’s not realistic to think you can pay $12,000 in credit card debt, if your annual income is $20,000. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on your resolution, it just means that you need to shoot for a lower amount.

Look for help: Knowing that you are not alone while pursuing your resolutions not only will give you piece of mind, but it will help you achieve your goals faster. One of the apps that can help you save hundreds of dollars is Coupon Sherpa. This app offers coupons and deals by category and store name. It also allows users to compare prices and locate stores that offer great deals. Another way to find help is to talk to financial advisers. At ConsolidatedCredit.org you can find free financial advice and financial literature to learn more about budgeting, saving money and paying off debt.

Be flexible: If your life changes drastically, saving a big portion of your salary may no longer be realistic. For example, if your income was cut down to a fraction of what it once was, saving as much money as you initially planned is out of the question. Tweaking your plan to address income changes will keep you motivated in reaching your goals.

 

Miss Money Bee by April Lewis-Parks

It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. You’re shopping for a new belt or accessory and suddenly you see something you’re sure you can’t live without. Before you know, you’ve made a credit card splurge or dipped into your “for emergencies only” fund to cover the costs.

Breaking down and making impulse buys happens more often than we’d like, and it’s one surefire way to take on more credit than you’d like or jeopardize your savings. One of the most effective and lesser-known ways to combat these impulse purchases is to ask yourself a series of questions before making the decision to buy it.

1. Will I use this? It is surprising how difficult it can be to answer this question once you start examining an item. Sure, you want that new silk dress and it’s on sale. But where will you wear it and how often? Do you have similar items in your closet that still have the price tags on them? After you really weigh the cost of an item versus how useful it will really be, you might find that it doesn’t really seem worth the effort it will take to pay it off.

2. Why am I buying this? When it comes to shopping, it is easy to fall into several traps that have nothing to do with actually needing an item. For example, if you are shopping with friends and everyone is buying new shoes to go dancing, you might also feel socially pressured into buying a pair you don’t need to keep up with them. In other instances, you might purchase something because it would look nice in your home or you think you might need it for a get-together in the future. Getting to the root of why you’re buying a product can help you make better spending decisions and avoid purchases you may regret down the road.

3. Will buying this take away from another priority? Are you saving money for a summer vacation or an excursion with your friends? Consider whether making this purchase will jeopardize your ability to save money for other priorities or give you less spending money for your trip. When you look at the big picture and the non-monetary costs of buying pricey items, you may balk at jeopardizing the goals you really want to accomplish.

 

Miss Money Bee by April Lewis-Parks

Living on a budget is one of the most effective ways to save money, keep debt under control, and accomplish your goals. But let’s be honest, budgeting may also require you to make sacrifices like cutting back on your morning lattes, lunches out or saying no to fun trips with your friends.

After months of sticking to a rigid budget, you may start to feel burnt out. Instead of giving in to temptation take a quick breather and explore some ways to recover from this feeling.

1. Set goals you are passionate about
Making sacrifices and saving money tends to be more fun when you’re working toward a goal that you’re excited about, like being debt free or saving money for a new car. It can be easy to forget about your goals when your spending has been slashed, so to stay motivated keep visual aids around your home or office to remind you why you’re working so hard – and the big payoff in the end.

2. Be realistic
When you’re saving for a down payment on a home, it’s easy to jump right in and try to completely overhaul your finances. But changing your spending and saving behavior takes time.  Taking on too much at once can leave you feeling drained, especially when you don’t see immediate benefits. Instead, pick one of two smaller goals to focus on initially, such as paying off your credit cards and saving 10 percent of each pay check. Once you have mastered these goals and behaviors, you can ease into making more changes.

Sometimes it also helps to set small milestones and track your progress. Saving $20,000 can seem overwhelming so instead focus on saving $100, $200 or $400 a month and watch your savings grow. When you focus on smaller achievements, you may find yourself more motivated to continue saving.

3. Discipline your spending, but don’t deprive
Cutting back on costs that keep you from accomplishing your goals is important, but that doesn’t mean foregoing all purchases – it just means being smart about it. Treating yourself to a dinner with friends once a month or trying something new can provide you with the rewards you need to keep yourself happy, while still working toward your goals without overspending.

It is important to have fun, be frugal, and save for the most meaningful things that you need to be happy like a home, a car, retirement savings, being debt free, and that other goal you have always dreamed of…