5-step Plan For Taking Control

February 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

credit cardsTime to get cozy with your money and have a great, but simple plan for its overall control.

 Save automatically– ‘Save more’ is a typical New Year’s resolution. And it’s a great one. But it has to made specific with some kind of plan. Right now, if you don’t already have one, set up an account for saving money and define your weekly, bi-monthly or monthly contributions. You’ll save $100 by actually doing things to make it happen. So, do it, right?

Track it – all – Impulse buying is the scourge of many well-intentioned folks. It’s hard to take control of your money if you don’t realize how much you are spending on ice-fishing equipment, or how much you really spend on the care and feeding of your other hobbies. If you track ALL spending, you will see what the real numbers are for the horses, or the boat or the kids sports activities or, whatever you are doing.

Use a system – Numbers are great but I prefer graphs and charts so I can SEE the relationship to various types of expenses or savings compared to the whole. A pie chart for me is terrific as I can see what’s budgeted for various categories and see if things are weighted too heavily with a glance. If your financial institution offers something, plug into that. But there are many free online options, such as Mint.com and others to help you see what’s going on with your money.

Retirement – SAVE – Saving more’ also means saving for retirement. And if you sign up to either begin a savings program, or to increase your current savings, you will be in better shape for 2013 than 2012. Go, team!

Savings made cozy – One really great suggestion I read was to remember how well sometimes seemingly silly things motivate us. The writer of one article said that if you have a savings goal use crayons to fill in a bar graph that helps you see the progress and make a chart for the fridge so you can be impressed and happy with your progress. Whatever works for you, smelly stickers, a latte, lunch out for your great job, that helps you be rewarded besides the reward we get from the intrinsic value of the progress. It’s okay to be cozy and to have fun.

So, be cozy and take control. (CR8946)

 

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