Whether you are looking to save money or pay off debt for your New Year’s Resolution, here are steps you can take to make sure you succeed!
Create a Budget: Account for everything! Do not only budget for your monthly bills. Budget for the Starbucks you get every Friday and the vacation you want to take this summer. The more in-depth you are with your budget the more you can see where you can save. Look at old statements and receipts to see exactly where you are spending your money.
Make Goals: Make goals of all sizes. Even the smallest goal will give you momentum to push forward with larger goals. Write them down so you can keep yourself accountable. An end goal of $5,000 may seem daunting but having smaller goals leading up to that goal will make it attainable.
Be Realistic: If you know you do not have time to make your lunch every weekday, budget to eat out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Do not try to budget so tight that you end up going over. At the end of the month wouldn’t you rather have extra cash rather than not enough?
Treat Yo’self: Put a positive spin on saving money. If you can’t afford to go out to dinner every Friday night, make cooking at home fun. Challenge yourself by creating a copycat recipe of what you might have ordered out. Yes, you are going to have to change your lifestyle but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If you are trying to save money by limiting social activities, when you save that first $500 give yourself a reward of a night out.
Use an App: There are some great personal finance applications that can help you track and stick to your budget. Some apps are interactive, and they allow you to text them to see if you have room in your budget for a purchase. Others give you easy to understand graphics about your spending habits. Some great free options are: Mint, PocketGuard, Prism, Albert and Personal Capital.
Plan for Change: Set aside an emergency fund in case something happens. You can budget and save better if your savings won’t be affected by an emergency.