Happy 2018! New year, new you … right?
We hear you. Jan is a great time to set yourself up for the rest of the year. To hit reset.
With money, it’s the perfect opp to start afresh: you could be kicking goals by March, and livin’ it up like Ja Rule by December. (The old Ja Rule that is. Not the one with the failed music festival.)
Sounds simple enough. But if you’ve had a few new years roll around in your adult life, you’ll know that change is really freaking hard.
Shifting those deeply ingrained money habits can be like going for a long uphill run when it hits 43 degrees. After you’ve treated yourself to pizza + choc chip ice cream for the last month.
It sure doesn’t help when you open Insta and see everyone splashing out, having fun in the sun. Somehow *insert name of hot person here* hasn’t developed a pot belly over the holiday break.
And their gift haul looks like that magazine spread you thought was a piece of satire.
But the honest truth is, you need to ignore all that crap.
This is about running your own race. You’ll never be free if you don’t.
Here are just three things to do with your money before summer’s over. Get these sorted, and you’re well on your way.
One: Identify your triggers
Yep, it’s time to measure that post-holiday (money) paunch.
You’ve probably gone backwards since your last check-in. But don’t panic.
Why? Because you should never let a bad month / week / moment get in the way of becoming better with money.
Instead, learn from your habits. You need to know what they are … to change what they do.
Look back at what you’ve spent on. Where were you? What were you feeling? Who were you with?
By doing this, you’ll start to become more aware in the moment. You’ll get to know what your impulses are. Who your bad (+ good) money influences are. This is the start to your new money mindset.
Action plan: Identify your triggers, identify one that you want to change, and set a mini-goal: focus on that.
Two: Cut that credit card
Not all debt is created equal. Credit card debt is pretty much the most expensive debt you can have on your books. And December is the biggest spending month of the year for burning plastic.
For many of us, it’s our go-to for month-to-month spending because it’s just so damn convenient.
But credit card debt is almost always lifestyle debt.
At Honest, we mapped out our new year resolutions and posted them publicly for ultimate accountability. Carroteer Nat, made the embarrassing confession that her Gorman shopping habit was making it tough to pay off her credit card.
And given that she’s also been planning a trip to Portugal for at least five years, it was becoming pretty damn obvious that her short-term spending habits and long-term savings goals were causing more-than-a-little cognitive dissonance.
Action plan: If you’ve got short-term debt — it’s your #1 priority. Get on top of that shit before anything else. If you can’t pay the full balance, pay as much as you can each month, always over + above the ‘minimum repayment’. There’s no point saving separately if you’re paying $$ in interest. Till you cut it completely, this is your savings account.
Want to share your new year’s resolution with us? We’d love to hear it! Email us, drop us a line on Facebook, or tweet us.
Three: Get specific
Saying ‘I want to save money’, just won’t cut it if you really want to make a sustainable difference to your financial future.
Then again, building a line-by-line spreadsheet and plugging in digits every week isn’t going to keep you on track for long either.
Instead, you need to get S.M.A.R.T.
By setting money goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
e.g. I’m going to save $5,000 by November 2018 for my South America trip in 2019. I’ll set aside $300 every paycheck to do that.
Make sure you build in some flexibility—we all know that crazy diets don’t work. They might for a week, but not for long.
It’s natural that you’ll fall off the wagon sometimes. Acknowledge it, and hop right back on.
And when you get it right? Always celebrate those small wins—they become big gains!
Need some ongoing honesty? Sign up for our newsletter 👇🏽
Is there something close to your heart that we’re not talking about? Drop us a line.