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Monday, January 4, 2016

7 Easy Ways to Reach your Financial Goals in 2016

Do you need a foolproof plan to get your butt into financial gear this year??

First step, what are your financial goals for 2016? Take a minute and write down the first 3 that come to your mind.

If you are like many others, you have likely listed one of the following:
  • Save more
  • Spend less
  • Stick to my budget
  • Pay down my debt
  • Make more money
  • Get organized
Second, be more specific. Do you want to save $100 more each month? Why? Is this for retirement, college savings, or just that vacation you want to take? All of the above?
Go through your list and make each one more specific, that way you can celebrate more and be comfortable that you are on your way to reaching your goal.

Now that you have your specific goal, what can you do to make it EASY to work towards and HARD to fall to the wayside?

Here are my 7 tips on making things EASY (or at least easier )on your financial mindset this year. Try them and let me know how they work!
  1. Dedicate a separate checking account just for your expenses. Figure out what your fixed expenses are (rent, utilities, cell phone, internet etc.) and then have them automatically paid from this account. Divvy up your direct deposit, or paychecks so that the appropriate amount is going into your expense checking account and let it be. This way you know everything is getting paid and paid on time. And it helps with budgeting, since you don't have to constantly check in on yourself to make sure you didn't spend your rent money.
  2. Set up a savings account for each goal. You might already have a retirement account or college savings set up. But what about for your other savings goals? Set up a separate account for each goal. This way you can track your progress and are less likely to pull out cash on an impulse. This means one for the emergency fund, one for the vacation fund, one for the house improvement fund etc. Even if you only start with tiny contributions to each, you have started.
  3. Set up an automatic debt payment tied to every time you get paid. This should come out of your expense account. Whether you get paid twice a month or once a week, set this payment for the day after. This way, the payment is out of your face before you have a chance to spend it! 
  4. Set up an automatic savings contribution tied to every time you get paid.  Same deal as the debt payment, set this up for the day after you get paid and bam! Before you know it you are on your way! This should also come out of your expense account (you are paying yourself). This takes 5 minutes or less. 
  5. Transition to online statements. You not only reduce clutter in your house, but then you can find what you need quickly, oh, and help save the planet.
  6. Switch to the envelope method for problem spending areas. Is one of your goals to spend less on take out? Or maybe its shoes? Give yourself a monthly cash allowance for these, and literally put it in an envelope. When its gone its gone.
  7. Ask for a raise (if you deserve it)- its surprising how many people just go with the regular 1-2% annual raise and never think to ask for more! You don't know if you don't try! Don't deserve it yet? Enhance your skills so that you will. Whether its taking a free (or employer paid) class online or just dedicating a couple hours a week honing a skill/ hobby you enjoy. Just make sure that when you do get some more cash, you divvy a good chunk of it up to your monthly savings or debt reduction plan!
Do you have more? Let me know!

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