2011 is drawing to a close. It’s been a turbulent year marred by job losses, a financial crisis and uncontrolled debt. But like all things, the New Year represents change and new beginnings. Out with the old and in with the new.
The idea of starting afresh is always good. A clean slate gives us confidence to face the challenges ahead with a clearer mind and more determined self.
So now, with 2012 just around the corner it’s time to think about making a list of New Year’s Financial Resolutions to set yourself up for success.
Reflect, learn and proceed – First off it’s important to take a long hard look at your progress, or lack thereof, over the past year. Did you meet any long-term goals? Has your financial situation has changed – for better or for worse? If you achieved a financial goal in 2011, then congratulations, and apply the same habits to this year’s goals. But if over-spending or a general carelessness is all that looks up at you from 2011, then it’s time to learn from your mistakes and move on with the promise of changing your ways.
Keep it short – No doubt there are plenty of things you can do better in 2012, like eliminating your credit card debt, not overspending and actually depositing some money into a savings account, but the trick to success is not to overload yourself with too many resolutions. Too many goals will overwhelm you and force you to throw in the towel. Pick only three to five important financial goals to help keep your momentum going.
Start a budget – It’s easy to set up and the ONLY way to keep track of your spending. Allocate money every month to your financial resolutions and trim expenses that may be keeping you from reaching your goals. When you can see where your money goes it’s so much easier to figure out in what areas of life you waste money.
Put something away – A savings accounthelps you avoid putting emergency expenses on your credit card and then having to pay the interest charges. Aim to save money for inevitabilities – a good way to start is to authorise a direct monthly deposit from your current account into a savings.