A new year brings with it new opportunities and possibilities! With a fresh start, this can be your year. You can finally begin to rock your money. No more overspending. No more feeling pinched or falling short of your goals. Whether you want to pay off debt, save money for a major purchase, or take a dream vacation, you need to get your plan in order. This Personal Finance Check List will help you get your act together and form a plan.
Wanting to do better with your money isn’t enough. You must have a good handle on how much you make every month, how much you owe, and your goals. Luckily there are multiple tools to use to help you gain a better understanding all of the above. Key in choosing what sort of tool you will use is knowing your own personal leanings and abilities. If you’re horrible at math, using pencil and paper budget forms isn’t a good idea. Hate using apps or forget to update them? Then you need to consider something else. If Quicken confuses you, then by all means don’t use it. Here are a few of my favorite methods for organizing personal finances.
You won’t just need the practical tools to begin your journey to better money management. You’ll also need some inspiration and umption in your gumption. It’s time to hit the library or use that Amazon gift card you received this year to make a book purchase or two. Here are a few of my favs:
- Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found An Inspired Happily Ever After (our story of paying off $127K and favorite money saving methods)
- The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
- 60 Days to Change: A Daily How-To Guide With Actionable Tips for Improving Your Financial Life by Pete the Planner
- Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life by Ruth Soukup
It’s not glamorous or exciting but saying yes to something always requires saying no to something else. That means you need to pick something to quit this year. Maybe you’ll go on a self imposed spending freeze for a set time frame. Maybe you’ll quit eating at restaurants. My husband went 2.5 years without a single restaurant purchase while we were paying off $127K in debt. It can be done! Cancel your subscription. Eliminate cable. Quit smoking. Choose something to intentionally quit and then use the money you would have spent on that practice to pay off debt or achieve your goals.
Find a Friend
No one ever answers a great challenge without a partner in crime. You need support if you’re going to achieve your money goals this year. You need community. That person might be your spouse, your BFF, your neighbor, or even your mom. Or maybe it’s someone you only interact with on social media. Whether you set up a weekly Skype chat or grab a cup of coffee together (your kitchen table is better than a coffee shop) to chat about where you’re at with your finances. Choose wisely – a person who won’t detract you from your aims or worse tempt you to make excuses.
Set Micro Goals
Maybe one of the reasons you’ve haven’t been able to get your junk in order before is that you’ve made your end game too lofty. Instead of focusing on a singular huge goal, break up your task into smaller, bite sized achievements. Whether it’s simply reducing your expenditures or saving up $100, set a small goal that you can achieve within a month’s time. Decide what you’ll do to celebrate reaching that minor goal in advance. Personal finances neatly bind to your behavior and reinforcing “good” behavior can help you make corrections, bit by bit.
HOORAY for a new year. I can’t wait for you to kick things into high gear and to cheer you along. January is my most favorite month of all.
Check out these other Debt Free Resources:
My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.
This post contains an affiliate link. That means when you get a great deal or maybe even something for free, you also help our family pay off our mortgage early. And for that, we royally thank you!