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Not Sure How to Set Up a Weekly Money Routine? Read This Now!

Not Sure How to Set Up a Weekly Money Routine? Read This Now!

Tired of all the chatter from friends, family and media about the importance of good financial habits? Ready to get your financial house in order, but wish you knew more about how to develop a plan of your own?

You’re in luck! Developing a weekly money routine is easier than it may sound. Get started with these easy tips. (Bonus! You can implement them all today.)

1. Think “routine,” not “resolution.”

Healthy financial habits are not about drafting more resolutions as likely to fail as anything else you promise each New Year. Instead they’re about building just that — habits. Start by shifting your thinking from an immediate push for a quick fix to debt or other financial woes, and focus instead on creating routines that allow you to strengthen your financial position every time you take out your wallet. Slow change can be lasting change.

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2. Learn The Secret.

Millions of people around the world are strong adherents to the Law of Attraction, which generally states that what you think about most is what you will attract. Instead of focusing on debt and the negative emotions that come with it — such as despair, hopelessness, frustration, impatience, or envy — focus with a positive attitude on your efforts to obtain, earn, or attract more money. Be proud of your efforts, and allow the process to keep you calm and centered as you work your way out of debt and into a better financial future.

3. Get real — with yourself.

How and why is money important to you? Is money, or lack thereof, keeping you in a job or living situation that you do not like or is not safe? Do you wish you had a romantic partner who earned more? While your first thought may be that you would party like a rockstar given the funding, for most folks, that simply is not part of the fantasy. Really think about what you want, and how much it costs. Do you want a private school education for your children? A safer neighborhood? The funds for a dog or other pets? Leisure to take two trips a year? Do you know how much each of these things costs? Do the research and write down your goal; make that goal as specific as possible.

4. Sketch it out.

Part of your candid assessment is how you spend. Do you buy coffee every morning at five bucks a pop? Do you get your nails done once a month? Do you tend to spend a lot of money when one of your friends has a birthday? Do you blow your budget in November and December on holiday temptations? Do you even have a budget?

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There is no wrong answer here, but you can’t change where you’re going until you know clearly where you are. Break out a pocket calendar, and sketch out how you spend. This does not have to be specific, but you want to think in enough detail to be able to identify trends. Is there a particular sport that when in season finds you buying drinks in bars more often to watch it? Do you avoid the summer heat or winter cold, and end up splurging on movies and other indoor entertainment? Is happy hour regularly expected by your boss or co-workers?

5. Trim your own fat.

Your money is yours, your priorities are yours, and your lifestyle choices are yours. Take a look at your spending sketch and question yourself about why you spend the way that you do. Do you really enjoy those happy hours, or do you need to stand up to your cubicle mates and only go once a month? Does your family expect, need, or want piles of gifts each holiday season, or do you buy them to alleviate the guilt of not visiting enough during the rest of the year?

Sometimes, the answer is as simple as, “I like that activity, that is part of my lifestyle, and it makes me happy/relaxes me/I enjoy it.” Great! Mark those items as important. You will likely find that you can trim the fat from things that you feel obligated to do, without having to sacrifice what you truly enjoy and want to spend your hard-earned funds pursuing.

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6. Measure your success.

Set a monetary goal for every week of the next three months, based on your calendar. Maybe it’s spending $10 less every time you go out; maybe it’s going out less; it could be finding the strength to avoid holiday sales; maybe it’s putting money aside from your paycheck immediately. Perhaps it’s all of those things, one for each week of the month. Be specific. Write each goal down. At the conclusion of each week, note your successes and areas that were more difficult. Be sure to note partial successes, too — if you saved $5 when your goal was $10, that’s still progress. At the conclusion of three months, evaluate your goals — are they consistently realistic? Can you be more ambitious?

7. Ask around, and share ideas.

Think you’re alone in your pursuit of wealth? Everyone is trying to accumulate more of the green stuff. Talk to your friends about your goals, and ask if they have any ideas for ways to save money. Pay particular attention to those who live in your area and have similar lifestyle patterns, because their tips and tricks are already proven.

Over time you will become more comfortable with your new weekly routine. Remember to revisit and update your goals frequently, and enjoy the abundance that comes your way.

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Ready to learn more about financial goal setting? Check out these 13 Basic Rules to Grow your Wealth Effectively.

Featured photo credit: www.seniorliving.org via flickr.com

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Published on November 20, 2018

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The Best Ways to Save Money Even Impulsive Spenders Can Get Behind

The truth is, there are many “money saving guides” online, but most don’t cover the root issue for not saving.

Once I’d discovered a few key factors that allowed me to save 10k in one year, I realized why most articles couldn’t help me. The problem is that even with the right strategies you can still fail to save money. You need to have the right systems in place and the right mindset.

In this guide, I’ll cover the best ways to save money — practical yet powerful steps you can take to start saving more. It won’t be easy but with hard work, I’m confident you’ll be able to save more money–even if you’re an impulsive spender.

Why Your Past Prevents You from Saving Money

Are you constantly thinking about your financial mistakes?

If so, these thoughts are holding you back from saving.

I get it, you wish you could go back in time to avoid your financial downfalls. But dwelling over your past will only rob you from your future. Instead, reflect on your mistakes and ask yourself what lessons you can learn from them.

It wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had accumulated thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Once I did, I started heading in the right direction. Embrace your past failures and use them as an opportunity to set new financial goals.

For example, after accepting that you’re thousands of dollars in debt create a plan to be debt free in a year or two. This way when you’ll be at peace even when you get negative thoughts about your finances. Now you can focus more time on saving and less on your past financial mistakes.

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How to Effortlessly Track Your Spending

Stop manually tracking your spending.

Leverage powerful analytic tools such as Personal Capital and these money management apps to do the work for you. This tool has worked for me and has kept me motivated to why I’m saving in the first place. Once you login to your Personal Capital dashboard, you’re able to view your net worth.

When I’d first signed up with Personal Capital, I had a negative net worth, but this motivated me to save more. With this tool, you can also view your spending patterns, expenses, and how much money you’re saving.

Use your net worth as your north star to saving more. Whenever you experience financial setbacks, view how far you’ve come along. Saving money is only half the battle, being consistent is the other half.

The Truth on Why You Keep Failing

Saving money isn’t sexy. If it was, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Some people are natural savers, but most are impulsive spenders. Instead of denying that you’re an impulsive spender, embrace it.

Don’t try to save 60 to 70% of your income if this means you’ll live a miserable life. Saving money isn’t a race but a marathon. You’re saving for retirement and for large purchases.

If you’re currently having a hard time saving, start spending more money on nice things. This may sound counterintuitive but hear me out. Wouldn’t it be better to save $200 each month for 12 months instead of $500 for 3 months?

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Most people run into trouble because they create budgets that set them up for failure. This system won’t work for those who are frugal, but chances are they don’t need help saving. This system is for those who can’t save money and need to be rewarded for their hard work.

Only because you’re buying nice things doesn’t mean that you’ll save less. Here are some rules you should have in place:

  1. Save more than 50% of your available money (after expenses)
  2. Only buy nice things after saving
  3. Automate your savings with automatic bank transfers

These are the same rules that helped me save thousands each year while buying the latest iPhone. Focus only on items that are important to you. Remember, you can afford anything but not everything.

How to Foolproof Yourself out of Debt

Personal finance is a game. On one end, you’re earning money; and on the to other, you’re saving. But what ends up counting in the end isn’t how much you earn but how much you save. Research shows that about 60% of Americans spend more than they save.[1]

So how can you separate yourself from the 60%?

By not accumulating more debt. This way you’ll have more money to save and avoid having more financial obligations. A great way to stop accumulating debt is using cash to pay for all your transactions.

This will be challenging, depending on how reliant you are with your credit card, but it’s worth the effort. Not only will you stop accruing debt, but you’ll also be more conscious with what you buy.

For example, you’ll think twice about purchasing a new $200 headphone despite having the cash to buy them. According to a poll conducted by The CreditCards.com, 5 out of 6 Americans are impulsive spenders.[2]

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Telling yourself that you’ll have the discipline to not buy things won’t cut it. This is equal to having junk food in your fridge while trying to eat healthy–it’s only a matter of time before you slip. By using cash to make your purchases, you’ll spend less and save more.

A Proven Formula to Skyrocket Your Savings

Having proven systems in place to help you save more is important, but they’re not the best way to save money.

You can search for dozens of ways to save money, but there’ll always be a limit. Instead of spending the majority of your effort saving, look for ways to increase your income. The truth is that once you have the right systems in place, saving is easy.

What’s challenging is earning more money. There are many routes you can take to achieve this. For example, you can work long and hard at your current job to earn a raise. But there’s one problem–you’re depending on someone else to give you a raise.

Your company will have to have the budget, and you’ll have to know how to toot your own horn to get this raise. This isn’t to say that earning a raise is impossible, but things are better when you’re in control right? That’s why building a side-hustle is the best way to increase your income.

Think of your side-hustle as a part-time job doing something you enjoy. You can sell items on eBay for a profit, or design websites for small businesses. Building a side-hustle will be on the hardest things you’ll do, be too stubborn to quit.

During the early stages, you won’t be making money and that’s okay. Since you already have a source of income, you won’t be dependent on your side-hustle to pay for your expenses. Depending on how much time you invest in your side-hustle, it can one day replace your current income.

Whatever route you take, focus more on earning and save as much as possible. You have more control than you give yourself credit for.

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Transform Yourself into a Saving Money Machine

Saving money isn’t complicated but it’s one of the hardest things you’ll do.

By learning from your mistakes and rewarding yourself after saving you’ll save more. What would you do with an extra $200 or $500 each month? To some, this is life-changing money that can improve the quality of their lives.

The truth is saving money is an art. Save too much and you’ll quit, but save too little and you’ll pay for the consequences in the future. Saving money takes effort and having the right systems in place.

Imagine if you’d started saving an extra $100 this next month? Or, saved $20K in one year? Although it’s hard to imagine, this can be your reality if you follow the principles covered in this guide.

Take a moment to brainstorm which goals you’d be able to reach if you had extra money each month. Use these goals as motivation to help you stay on track on your journey to saving more. If I was able to save thousands of dollars with little guidance, imagine what you’ll be able to do.

What are you waiting for? Go and start saving money, the sky is your limit.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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