With January well underway hopefully, you have had time to sit down and come up with a solid financial plan for 2018. While the task can seem daunting, I have managed to come up with a few ways to keep things simple while still working on your financial goals.
I know that personally if I find a task overwhelming, I will procrastinate it. Before I know it September is here and my budget and finances are in shambles. I am a little dramatic, I confess.
Choose A Time
Choose a time to work on your financial plan. Make a date, write it in your calendar and make a commitment to it. Spend a few hours going over your budget and goals for the new year.
If you have a partner that you share your finances with it is good to include them in this little goal planning session. It is very important that you are both on the same page.
See The Big Picture
Probably the best tool that I have found is Personal Capital. Before I found Personal Capital my finances were all over the place and I didn’t know who I owed what. I was able to import all my accounts from savings to credit cards in one place and get an overall view of my net worth.
With a quick glance, I can see my cash flow, my credit limits, and what bills are coming due. Personal Capital also made me face the debt that we had by seeing the large number in the corner and realizing that I had to take action. It has also been amazing to watch my progress as we pay off debt and move back to the positive side of things.
Save Money On Accident
That isn’t really a thing, is it? How can you possibly save money by accident? I signed up for Digit two months ago and to date have already saved almost $400. All without ever noticing that the money was missing from my regular checking account.
Every 2 or 3 days, Digit transfers some money (usually $5-50) from my checking account to my Digit savings. They never transfer more than I can afford, so I don’t have to worry about over-drafting my account. The thing is, over time digit recognizes spending patterns such as rent or upcoming bills.
I plan on continuing to use digit throughout 2018 and can’t wait to watch my savings add up. You can currently even set a savings goal for specific things and Digit will keep that in consideration as it saves for you. I haven’t yet decided what I will do with the money we end up saving with this method, but I love watching it multiply effortlessly.
Smart Budgeting Software
Ok, I am not saying you need some fancy software to keep your budget on track. For me just looking at my bank account every once in awhile wasn’t really cutting it. I could never remember what was outstanding and we spent way too much money eating out.
I tried a few account apps and even the envelope system (in app form of course), but they just WERE NOT FOR ME. Then I discovered YNAB (You Need A Budget) and my life changed.
Using YNAB completely changed the way I think about money, the way I spend money, and for the first time in—ever?—I’m not stressed. I actually have a plan now and this app helps me not be caught with my pants down when it comes to emergency financial situations. There is room for me to budget for everything. $300 emergency vet bill? No problem, I budgeted for that.
Give it a whirl. You will thank me. You can also get one whole month free when you use my special link.
Make a Date With Yourself
Now that you have a few basics under your belt make sure to take time each month to re-access your financial situation. It is very easy for me to forget about recurring bills.
I have a set time each month to sit down and settle everything out for the month. This includes writing any checks for the month and having them ready to mail. I also set up the dates for online bills to be paid, and figure out any extra funds that I can put towards debt.
With these basics to get you started, you should be well on your path to financial freedom. Getting organized and knowing where every penny is going is the first step to financial success. Do you have any other tips that you use to set your annual and monthly goals? How do you keep your finances organized?
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