The year 2020 has come and gone, and it has left a mark on us forever. A lot happened last year, and a lot is still going on today. Money impacts every aspect of your life. Money controls how much you can spend on food, where you live, how you get around, and even the type of healthcare you can afford. Money may motivate you to take a different job or even live in another city. Money can also stress you out and make you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Talking about money is more than just talking about income, debt, assets, and spending habits. You care about money because money provides you with the things you need and the things you want, both tangible and intangible. The question is, what motivates you?
The answer to this question might look different for everyone, and it might change over time. Getting control of your money, paying down debt, and building savings gives you the freedom to control your future. It allows you to make choices that you might not have taken if you were stressed or overwhelmed about money. When you live in a constant unknown, it can be comforting and empowering to take control of the things you can. When it comes to your finances, you have the choice to decide how you want to handle your money and ultimately what kind of life you want to live.
Getting control of your spending and tempering down any anxiety and stress over your finances begins with making a plan. The pandemic forced you to change your habits. You are continually learning a “new” normal. Now is the time to use the forced change to develop new habits. Actions that lead you to the life that you want to be living. Where do you want to be a year from now? Where do you want to be five years from now?
As with any goal, it takes time, but each week focusing on the behaviors that will get you closer to your goals will lead to tremendous success down the road. Almost everyone is feeling burnout these days. It’s important to remember you don’t need to make extravagant changes. Little by little, just heading in the right direction, all of the positive financial habits will add up.
Remember getting started is the hardest part. Building new habits can feel like a drag, but you will be rewarded if you stick to them.
1. Take a deep breath. Think about what is motivating you to keep going and where you want to be in the future. Write these things down and keep them someplace where you can see them every day.
2. Make a plan. What are you going to do to reach your goals? What is something you will do each week to get you closer to your goal(s)?
3. Spend lees then you make. Make sure you are spending less than you make regularly. If you are not doing this already, start here. There are only two ways to make this happen. Option one, spend less, or option two, make more.
4. Build a cash cushion by saving $1,000. Start by saving $500 and then grow that savings to $1,000.
5. Pay down debt and save!