Guys, 2016 is almost over. And we don’t want to be strapped for cash come January 1st, especially as we’re all planning to be hungover and working hard on our goals. A new year brings so much promise, right?
I mean, this really is the year where we’re going to work out daily, volunteer at an animal shelter, and stop drinking! Seriously! To save you the heartache of an empty purse at the beginning of the year, this is how you step up your financial game!
Saving is difficult because nobody wants to be working on their long-term finances when they can buy a beautiful coat right now and wear it. But you have to change that mindset about money goals!
Financial experts say you should have at least six month’s worth of salary saved for emergencies. You can think of that big item that would take some time to build towards, a mortgage, vacation, car or those Louis Vuitton boots . . . for example. Figure out how much it’ll cost you and how long it’ll take to save up month by month. Simple!
Create a f*ck off fund
One of the best things I read this year was this essay about a F*ck-Off fund. Reading it made me realize it’s all about saving, so you can f*ck off somewhere someday.
“To build this account, you keep living like you lived as a broke student. Drive the decade-old Civic even after the fender falls off. Buy the thrift store clothes. You waitress on Saturdays, even though you work Monday through Friday. You make do with the garage sale coffee table. It’s hard, your loan payments suck, but you make girl’s night an at-home thing and do tacos potluck.” – Paulette Perhach for Huffington Post.
Make big, loud messages for yourself
Sometimes it’s hard to get into your brain that you can’t buy those luxuries. Your brain needs large, loud messages. Reminds yourself why you’re saving. Label your savings account “MORTGAGE MONEY”. If you also need louder, bigger messages, try a huge vision board filled with all the things you want.
Look at your habits
The people who know, those mythical financial experts, will tell you to look at your last month’s spending to see where you could be cutting back. But December never feels like a “normal” month for finances; between all the holiday parties and buying presents for your friends and family, this isn’t a good representation of where you could be cutting back.
I recommend looking at November’s expenses instead to see where you’re spending money recklessly.
Get friendly with spreadsheets
Sorry to tell you this, but you’re gonna have to get a little over friendly with spreadsheets if you want to be financially successful. Your bank statement or the back of a receipt isn’t enough to plan your finances on; you’re going to want to build a budget that works for you and your savings, no matter what your salary is.
Build your budget, and fill out your finances as the month goes on. Make sure it’s realistic!
Use your phone to help you
Apps are smarter now. I look forward to a day where robots will shoot lasers at me when I try to empty my bank card, but for now, apps are all we have, and they can sure help you manage your budget. Mint, PocketGuard, and YouNeedABudget are all rated highly in the App Store.
These shouldn’t be relied on too heavily without goals, though, nobody likes a computer telling them what to do without knowing the logic behind it, so you’re bound to be frustrated if the only reason you feel like you can’t have a coffee is because “my phone said so”.
Take advantage of resources you already have!
Do you have a pension plan with your company? Does your bank offer investment advice? Does your local library offer money management seminars, or carry budgeting books?
There are so many free resources, make sure you’re taking advantage of the things that are already available to you. This also includes coupon sites like LivingSocial and DesignMyNight; places that will offer you discounted rates on things you’d be doing anyhow are always a win!
Join The Clique! Our next exclusive event will be taking place on January 29th, and it’s all about kicking 2017 in the butt. With classes on managing stress, achieving any goal and being the most productive person in the world, early bird tickets are available here.
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