“It doesn’t matter how many hours I work, I never seem to make enough money.”
“I only use my credit cards for emergencies, so I know I don’t have a spending problem.”
“My paycheck covers my bills, so I don’t really care about anything else financially.”
“I’ll be paying off my student loans until I die anyway, so there’s no reason to pay extra.”
With just 4 steps you can set yourself up to have the best financial year of your life! Twelve months from now you’ll be so glad you did – you’ll stress & worry less and feel more hope for your financial future than ever before. These 4 steps have been pivotal in improving our finances and I know they’ll work for you too (whether you’re already financially secure or not).
Are you ready to get started with these 4 simple steps? Here we go…
Step 1 – Be Real.
Lying to yourself (or your spouse) about your finances won’t get you anywhere positive. Don’t be an ostrich hiding your head in the sand, instead get brave and confront your finances head on.
Spend a few hours tracking down and organizing your financial paperwork. Once you have a decent picture of your current debts and assets, call each company one-by-one until you’ve gotten a clear picture of where you stand financially with that company. For example, I have a ton of student loans, so every few months I call to find out my current balance, credit score & pay off information. Even though I have a long way to go before all the loans are paid off, I know where we stand, and keep informed of any opportunities the company may offer.
Step 2 – Set At Least Two Financial Goals (With Deadlines).
Now that you know your current financial position, take some time to think about where you want to be one year from now. Here’s a few ideas to get you brainstorming:
- Save up a $1,000 emergency fund by March 1st.
- Pay off and close all credit cards by July 1st.
- Save money for a family vacation next year by December 1st.
When goal setting try to be specific. Instead of general goals, like “try not to waste money,” give yourself a clear-cut expectation, such as “Instead of buying coffee from a local coffee shop each morning, I’ll brew my own at home.” By including a deadline you’re helping to set up accountability, so be realistic in your deadlines, but also challenge yourself a bit.
Step 3 – Create A Game Plan.
How will you accomplish your financial goals? What tools or resources will you need? How will you remain inspired?
In our house, we follow the teachings of Dave Ramsey – his Total Money Makeover book (available on Amazon) and his class Financial Peace University. His budgeting forms, real life examples and back-to-the-basics approach is all the inspiration we need to keep going towards our future financial goals, 99% of the time. Reading his book the Total Money Makeover as our first major financial motivator when we started our journey to financial peace. If you’ve never read his book, or if it’s been awhile, I can’t recommend it enough. Goals without a plan of action are a plan to fail. If you want to accomplish your goals, you need a game plan to make them happen, so start finding those resources from the get go.
Step 4 – Follow A Written Budget.
A written budget, that you STICK to, is hands down the BEST way to accomplish your financial goals, big or small.
(If you’re new to budgeting (you guessed it), check out the Total Money Makeover for step-by-step directions.) Every month, we plan out every bill – such as mortgage payments or our cell phones, unusual expenses – such as birthday presents or prescription medicine, plus our debt and savings plans – such as extra student loan payments or money to be transferred to savings.
By having a plan ahead of time, we’ve found that reaching our financial goals is so much easier. (Check out our food budget series for inspiration!)
Are you looking for a little more financial help? Stay tuned for our upcoming posts designed for people feeling desperate and backed into a corner financially. Every financial situation can be improved – no matter how big or small, so don’t lose hope or give up… get informed! 🙂 You might also like our annual financial projections printable – it’s free – and gives you the big picture of your finances one year at a time. In the mean time, I’d love to hear from you. What are your financial struggles? Is there a specific situation I can help you overcome? Let us know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate marketing links that compensate me for sales.