The latest Fitbit accessory. The new PS4. The hottest styles. You’ve got it going on. No one can talk to you about upcoming trends in tech and fashion — because you already have them all.
But there’s no money in your savings account. You have exactly $0 put away in case of emergencies (because who has those, anyway?). So if you fell and broke your foot, that ER bill would be sitting on your head for a while.
You’re a Wreck
Right now, you’re a beautiful financial wreck. You need to get your dough in order if you want to enjoy your life later — instead of living from paycheck to paycheck for the next 60 years.
As much fun as it is to buy what you want, when you want it, it isn’t fun when it’s time to pay up. And whether you realize it or not, you make those unnecessary purchases to try and make yourself feel better about your debt.
Because you feel the financial pinch, but you’re lost and spiraling deeper into it. What better way to forget that pain than to buy that new PS4?
If you don’t check your financial behavior, the wreckage will be impossible to clean up later.
How to Turn it Around This Year
1. Take stock of your finances
What do you owe? What do you earn? What goals will set you financially free by the end of the year?
Sit down and evaluate everything you have going on in your finances. Take a truly objective look at how you earn money, what you spend it on, and what you can do to shift the balance towards the black.
2. Lay out your goals
What steps are going to get you out of the hole — saving more or earning more? Or both? How much debt will you try to pay down this year? Which cards should you pay off first?
Without goals, you won’t achieve financial freedom. You’ll float down your path hoping you make it from Point A to Point B, but you’ll probably end up somewhere else instead. Figure out what you truly want from your finances, and set your goals accordingly.
3. Draw up your map
How much can you honestly save each week? How much more can you sensibly earn in a month?
Make your steps achievable ones. If you set unattainable goals, you’ll probably give up on them. Write out a map of your goals and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often. Tape it to the bathroom mirror; keep it on your desk; put one in your wallet, so you’ll see it each time you reach for your card.
4. Revisit your goals
Now that you’ve drawn up your map, read it daily. If you don’t, it’ll easily become white noise and fade into the background.
Try moving it around each week, or rewriting it each month. Maintain the same goals, but use different wording to keep it fresh.
5. Do a weekly check in
Are you on track? Are you falling behind? Did you happen to get ahead of the game this week?
Assess your progress weekly. If you didn’t achieve your goals this week or the last, don’t continue down the same path. This is key: If you find that a step in your map isn’t working, you’ll need to fix it immediately. On the other hand, if you find things are working, use that encouragement to power forward.
Cleaning up your past financial wreckage in a year may be a lofty goal, but these five strategies will help you get as close as you possibly can.
What’s one way you’re cleaning up your finances in the next year?