As 2014 comes to a close, many of us are considering our 2015 resolutions. Having had nearly two years now immersed in the personal finance blogging world, I’d like to share some thoughts on what might be beneficial 2015 resolutions for those not yet bitten by the Financial Freedom bug. If I, knowing what I know now, were to be starting new in gaining control of my finances, here are some of the things I’d consider putting on my 2015 resolutions list:
2015 Resolutions for Your Money
1. Track Your Spending. Yep, this is definitely at the top of my list. When we first started tracking our spending in 2013 (after going over 2012 expenses and finding that we’d spent nearly 50% MORE than we thought we did in most budget areas) it was the beginning of life-changing money benefits for us. If you don’t do anything new or different with your money this year, at the very least, commit to tracking every dime you spend, broken down by category (restaurants, groceries, gas, entertainment, etc.) so that you finish 2015 with a crystal clear picture of where every dime of your income went – or didn’t go.
2. Make Saving a Habit. Don’t wait and see what’s left over at the end of the pay period before seeing whether or not you have money left for savings; instead, treat your savings account contributions like a bill, and pay yourself first every single month. And after the money is in the account, “fuhgit abot it”.
3. Give Regularly to a Cause You Can Be Cheerful About Supporting. God loves a cheerful giver, and cheerful giving is blessed giving. Support ministries and causes that you can be cheerful and joyful about supporting, and choose to be cheerful and grateful that you have the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life.
4. Get – and Keep – a Clear Picture of Your Net Worth. Set up a system so that you know at the touch of a button what your assets and liabilities are, how much you spend each month on your expenditures, and so on and so forth.
5. Get a Handle on Your Grocery Bill. Learn to menu plan, and to track or memorize prices on things you buy regularly so that you know which sales or a good deal and which sales are not. Don’t buy just because you want: buy because the item is part of your menu planned spend for specific meals that you’ve chosen to feed your family, and watch your grocery bill plummet.
6. Make a List of Your Top Money Priorities. What is truly important to you from a financial standpoint? Is it the ability to be debt free? To have a plush retirement account? To have your kids’ college expenses fully funded? To have the cash to pay for a vacation home? Make a list of your top 5 money priorities, and commit to doing what you need to do to accomplish those priorities.
7. Learn to Practice Value-Based Spending. Don’t go out to eat just because it’s fun or easy when eating out is not one of your top money priorities. When faced with a spending choice, ask yourself, truly, if the purchase you are about to make is a value-based purchase. If it’s not, consider walking away from that purchase and putting that money toward one of your top money priorities, such as making an extra payment toward debt.
8. Commit to Truly Getting Serious About Your Money. The time for wishy-washy goals and spending decisions is over, my friends. It’s time for diligence and commitment for your money and your money goals in 2015.
These tips were born out of our own reflection of our 2014 spending and 2015 goals. I know that by following these suggestions, our money situation will improve dramatically. Won’t you join us for a richer 2015?
Have you started working on your 2015 resolutions yet? What is your biggest financial goal for the coming year?