It’s a new year and the ideal time to set your goals for the year ahead. Whether you’re saving up for something special, trying to pay off some debt or putting money aside for retirement, having a financial resolution is a positive move. We begin the year full of hope and determination, but that’s when it gets tricky. It’s difficult to resist temptation, and before long, we start slipping back into our old habits. If you have a financial goal for 2020, here are some simple things you can do to stick to your resolution.
1. Review your finances
Before you decide on a goal for 2020, take stock of your current financial situation. Have a good look at the money coming in and what’s going out. Put your spending habits under the microscope: where is your money going and how could you cut back? You might be surprised just how much you spend on lunch each week – over 12 months that will add up! Can you bring lunch from home most days? Little things like this will make a big difference to your financial goals.
2. Set your goals (and be realistic!)
Be specific about exactly want you want to achieve. When your goals are a bit vague, it’s too easy to wriggle out of them! Be very clear and have a definite timeframe. If your goal is saving money, decide how much and by what date: I will save $5000 by December 31. It’s good to dream big, but make sure your goals are achievable.
3. Write it down
It’s important to put pen to paper and get your goal down in writing. Make it clear and display it somewhere where you’ll see it often (on the fridge or next to your computer – anywhere where you’ll get a reminder of what you’re trying to achieve). You might want to share your goal with your family or a close friend – putting it out there makes you accountable, so you’re more likely to stay on track!
4. Have a game plan
Now you need to work out how you’re going to achieve your financial goal. The best way is to break it down into small steps – they’re easier to achieve, and you’ll know you’re making progress. You might calculate how much you need to set aside from each fortnightly pay or how much you can pay off your debt each month. If willpower isn’t your strong suit, consider having automatic deductions taken from your pay, so you don’t even need to think about it!
5. Celebrate your hard work
Giving yourself a small reward when you reach an important milestone can help you stay motivated. Have you managed to save the amount you planned this month? Maybe treat yourself to a coffee. Paid off half your debt already? Take yourself out to lunch to celebrate. Don’t go overboard (you don’t want to undo your hard work!), but giving yourself a little treat along the way might help you reach your overall goal.
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