This month I’m tackling money.
I spoke about trying to take more control over my money habits “last year” (too soon?) As is customary as January commences, it’s time to take a look at the goals I’m hoping to achieve this year. As an alternative to the notorious "work out more" new year's resolution, I'd like to take on a different "work out more" goal, but focus on my finances. I want to exercise my ability save, make healthy and conscious spending choices, and gain weight! (in my bank account). Here's how I'm going to do it:
• Track spending.
I’ve tried to do this in the past but because I had no plan on slowing down my spending, it got out of control and I couldn’t keep track. I had a hard time looking at what I was tracking without feeling shame. This time I’m tracking my spending with a shopping ban in mind. I’ve set up a system where I categorize my transactions into “food”, “parking”, “miscellaneous”, etc. I know there are apps out there to do the job for me, but I’m a visual person. I need to write things down. This method works better for me. Hopefully I’ll find truth to that by the end of the month.
• Save monies.
With a shopping ban in place it’s pretty easy to take a look at all that money I’m saving and actually save it. In previous, not so money focused years, I tried to save but I had an end goal of spending all of that I had racked up. This time I’m saving up our emergency fund. I’m a constant worrier and what better way to curb my worrying than to start up an emergency fund? I started it in November and am already over half way to my first goal. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to saving. I'll divulge later.
• Make a budget.
This one is essentially done, but I want to put the budget into action. George and I sat down on New Year’s Eve 2016 and went over our finances for the upcoming year. I’m hoping to figure out some new ways to adhere to it. I believe I can be do it by tracking what our food budget is, searching out deals, and not wasting so much food. That’s the killer. I want to make sure to plan ahead more. I spend a lot of money on last minute snacks and little things that I could have avoided had I planned in advance. I'm putting that into play this month.
• Get educated.
My dad was a tax lawyer who now moonlights as my financial adviser (he's happily retired). He’s the most knowledgeable man I know in terms of money so I want to gain as much wisdom from him as possible. He’s given me some book recommendations and I plan to hit up the library (he mentioned the tomes are not worth buying - not surprising coming from my frugal father), and grab some light reading. I've taken to bookmarking some sites geared towards women and money where I can consistently renew my interest in money and how to save. It helps keep me engaged.
• Reduce my phone bill!
This is one of the most tangible goals I can achieve. I’ve been using the same phone plan for at least three years and it's no longer working for me. I’m constantly going over my data and paying for things I don’t actually need. I know that taking on a new phone plan will reduce our expenses and get us some extra savings. This is probably the first on my list of goals that I’ll be able to check off.
I'll check in at the end of the month to see how the month ended; what worked, what didn't, how I would do things differently. How do you plan on handling your finances for 2017? Is money something you'd like to focus on this year as a goal? Let me know, this girl needs some encouragement.