Maintaining Your New Year's Financial Resolutions
February is here. Aside from acknowledging that time is truly flying by us, this is also the time where we begin to assess whether we're on track with our new year's resolutions. Do we crumble and give up until the following year, or do we continue our resolution for another month? Regardless of whether your resolution is to save a certain amount of money per month, reduce spending in general or in a specific category, or any other financial resolution, these tips will help you to succeed!
Review Your First Month
How did January go with regards to maintaining your resolution? Did you save that extra $300 you wanted? Did you stay within your fast food budget category? The only real way to know is to look at concrete numbers. Of course you can just go with your gut feeling about how the first month went but you'll never really know how well you did; numbers and data will always be superior to that gut feeling. I hope you have a budget that's tracking all of this!
If it feels as though all you're doing is sacrificing something without feeling any form of reward, you're going to suffer, which will make it harder to stick with your resolution. If you did really well and were on track with your new year's resolution, treat yourself! Of course, make it a smart and calculated reward. If your goal is to reduce monthly expenses by $300, maybe you shouldn't go and treat yourself to a $100 fine dining experience. Be smart about it and have fun with your resolution goals.
Acknowledge That There Are Ups and Downs
The road to achieving a goal is not all downhill (otherwise, we'd all be super-fit and super-rich). There will be highs and lows and it's important to understand that. Maybe you planned to stick to a budget of $100 for clothes a month but you spent $150 in January. Should we give up our goal entirely? Of course not! Instead, by reviewing our first month (point #1), we can get a better sense of why we weren't able to stick to our plan and either understand where we made a mistake and fix it, or alter our goal slightly to make it a little more feasible without a cloud of anxiety always hanging over us (yes, we're allowed to tweak our resolutions slightly, but don't make it too easy for yourself).
Have Fun with it!
Remember, resolutions should not be stressful because hopefully they will evolve into strong, positive habits. Stay focused but don't fret if you regress a bit. Oftentimes, by taking one step back, we'll be able to take two steps forward.
Check out some of the great, new titles below for help in keeping your 2018 financial resolutions!