With several weeks of the new year already behind me, I am realizing more and more the importance of starting the year off on the right foot and sticking as close to my financial plan as possible. This year more than any other year before it, I feel even more dedicated to getting my financial affairs in order. While I have obviously had these ideas on my mind in past years, this time feels different. I made up my mind that this year I would be more serious than ever about keeping my finances and family budget on track.
You may be wondering why I believe this year will be better and I will more successfully achieve my financial goals? The answer is actually pretty simple. This year, I have identified 3 useful tips that will help guide me in this process.
3 Tips ….
1) Stick to my December Budget
In December, I created budget to help keep our fiances in order. With the holidays fast approaching and the yearly Christmas expenses likely being pretty pricey, this knowledge definitely sparked my motivation. Aside from our regular household and lifestyle expenses, this time of year holds great financially-stressful implications for us, like it does many other families. As a result, sticking to the budget this January is vitally important in order to gain more financial stability for the coming months and the remainder of the year.
I think creating the budget in December was a great help and even though we already had a previous budget written up, it was necessary to review and re-vamp it going into the holiday. With the bills coming in this month, staying on track with the budget seemed a lot more challenging and something that we are doing our best to manage. Again, this only encourages me to remain focused and conscious of our spending. This tip is not only extremely valuable at this point in time, but it is also an effective strategy all year!
2) Team work
While being honest, doing it alone, really doesn’t do anyone any favours. Realizing that there is strength in numbers, is half the battle. As a family, my husband and I are supporting each other with our finances and helping each other to specifically watch our spending, while staying aware of the position our finances are in at all times. From what I have learned over the year about making a major life style change, it is the presence of motivation that is absolutely key to a person’s success.
Another source of financial motivation I have discovered, can also come from the involvement of a financial adviser or through reading books on the subject. Starting out, I thought we could manage our finances on our own, however as life moves forward and certain things grow more complicated, having a professional provide support and guidance should not be underestimated. From what I can tell from working with an adviser so far, I already feel less overwhelmed with our financial decisions. Overall, working as a team to arrive at a common goal, is such a valuable tool and if you are feeling like you could use some support in this area, from my standpoint, contacting a financial adviser, even to make some initial inquiries is a good idea.
3) Reassess Financial Goals to Ensure they are Realistic
The third tip I plan to follow, has to do with reassessing your current financial goals and making sure they are realistic. At first glance your financial goals may seem realistic, however sometimes they may not be and in fact may only make the situation more difficult. We have found ourselves in this position before as well. What we decided to do (with the guidance of our adviser) was to look over the goals we had in mind and make some changes. While many of these goals stayed the same, there were some that required further planning or even ones that we put on hold. This is not to say these goals will never become a reality for us, but it made more sense to focus on other ones first and revisit the others perhaps down the road – in addition to extending the dates for achieving them.
Specifically, the amounts we wanted to save by a certain time period, did not seem as achievable right now, so we adjusted these numbers somewhat. Although, we did change our goals to a certain extent, the fact that they were clearly identified and written down, makes me feel more accountable to stick with these on an ongoing basis. It also makes me feel a lot better too.
So far, these tips have enabled me to be more financial responsible in 2014. One of the major improvements that I am already seeing is that I are more aware of where we are spending our money. In many instances, there are areas where we can cut back and following the budget allowed me to see that we were essentially throwing our money away. One thing’s for sure, this amount of money worked out to be a lot more than I would have imagined. Despite how simple these tips may seem, I can not stress how beneficial they have been to us.
With many signs pointing to an improved economic stability on the horizon, it seems like it might be the best time to jump into gear, make the necessary financial adjustments and stick to them!