Dec. 30, 2017
New year, new resolutions, and new financial goals. Seems like the date of January first, and making lists of things I want to do better go together like peanut butter and jelly. And honestly, when realistically done, it should taste that good. But it seems as soon as I start to think about a whole new year of trying to maximize the income of my household while paying down any existing debt, staying on a budget AND trying to have some fun, I become very overwhelmed. However, a simplistic approach to tangible outcomes can help my bank account benefit.
Make a list, and be specific. Paying credit card debt or student loans is a great start, but putting a name to that loan or card, and a balance amount ticker can easily allow the momentum get one excited about seeing the amount get down to zero. As I have paid off one account, I can quickly get excited about paying off another, because I know it is doable.
Collect change. Want an easy way to save towards a big purchase fund? Save the loose change. I have adapted trying to use cash more than a check card, and because of this, I often have change. We currently have a mason jar, that each one in our household adds the money to. Over a period of time, those coins become dollars, and it can help go towards something practical or fun. This year it is spending money for Disneyland.
Education. Yep, learning for the solid win again. Growing up I, unfortunately, did not have an accurate understanding of money. I grew up in a household where credit was significant, savings were little. My parents really did not talk about money with me, and getting a checkbook and keeping a register was something I learned in school. When I went off to college, I had to learn what the words “interest rate” and “overdraft” really meant. What a hard lesson when I recognized a percentage of the amount would be added to an account if I did not pay off a balance completely. So, I quickly had to educate myself. Reading books, finding financial applications for my smartphone and computer has helped me understand how to get the most out of my dollar. Finding a consultant is never a bad idea when looking to save for retirement or investment endeavors.
Open Accounts. Open Accounts can charge fees and you not even know it. I had a bank account open from before I married my hero and I just thought I needed to keep it open. Well, until I realized around year five of being married, that if I did not keep a certain amount in the account, then the bank would charge me a fee to keep it open. Where I loved having a connection back in my hometown, the recurring charge of ten dollars every month on the fifty dollars I may have in it, was not worth it. Close accounts which may not offer you the best rates, and look into accounts which may earn you cash back, points for travel or perks for dollars spent within a time frame.
I love the excitement of the new year with champagne toasts and fireworks explosion. I like knowing I can also experience the same thrill with the finances of my household, and end the following year meeting goals which can fatten my bank accounts.