Thursday December 5, 2013
The next few challenges are designed to help you set effective goals for the next year. When you want to make lasting changes, you need to identify what you want to change, and what you need to change in order to reach your goals. This is such an important step, because you may have the goal to get out of debt--which is identifying what you want to change, but then you need to find the behaviors you need to change to make that happen.
The challenge will take you through identifying what you want to change, and help you identify the areas that you need to change to make it happen. It will not take too long, and is more a self reflection rather than looking at the numbers and coming up with a budget. However, your budget reports from the last two challenges can help you as you complete this one, so you may want to pull them out to look at.
Wednesday December 4, 2013
With so much focus on finding the perfect holiday gift, you may push saving money to the side. It is important to regularly set aside money each month for your savings. You can use that money to reach your financial goals like buying a home or going on your dream vacation. Separate from that savings you should always be saving money towards retirement.
Even if you end up not saving anything this month, take the time to think about what your savings goals for the next year are going to be. This can help you to determine just how much you want to save each month. The more aggressive you are in your savings, the more quickly you will reach your goals. Even if you just plan on setting aside some money each month to cover Christmas expenses, you will be better off for the next year.
Tuesday December 3, 2013
The thing I remember about my first apartment was the shock I felt when we paid our first electric bill. I shared the apartment with five other girls, and we used a lot of power. Fortunately, six girls meant splitting the bill six ways and we managed, but there are a lot of unexpected costs when you move into your first apartment. And additional costs every time that you move.
It is important that you find a place that gives you a little wiggle room in your budget, so that you can deal with the unexpected costs like rising heating bills in the winter, or the water bill that you did not expect to be that big. Roommates can help defray the costs, but you may be ready for your own place. If you are going to live along, you will need to make sure that you can cover all the costs associated with renting a place on your own before you sign the lease.
Monday December 2, 2013
It can be tough to think about your budget, especially when you are so focused on getting your holiday shopping done. However, it is months like this when budgeting is even more important. You may be working with two different budgets this month, your monthly budget and your holiday budget. Here are a few tips to help you stick to them this month.
- Track your expenses every night. If you keep you with your different categories on a regular basis, you will know when you need to stop spending.
- Consider switching to cash for your toughest categories. This can help you because even if you forget to track or you are getting close one day, you will know when to stop because you are out of money.
- Look for ways to cut your bills so you have more money to spend on your gifts this year. If you can stop eating out this month, you may be amazed at just how much money you can save.
What strategies are you going to use to stick to your budget this month?