Deciding to make changes in how you do anything in life can be difficult. You’re set in your ways; you have a method of doing things…you’re snuggly under a security blanket. It can be especially scary to alter how you are managing money because, the fear of change can feel like you’re in molasses when you’re trying to take the first steps to begin. Read these three steps to start moving.
Lay It All Out
I’ve said this already, but it’s important to know how much money you have coming in and a basic list of your bills. You can’t make a plan of action without knowing what you have to work with. Create a financial in and out list and think it over–don’t make a list and start running around like Chicken Little yelling, “the sky is falling, we don’t have any money!” The point is to create awareness within yourself to plan action.
Pick Three Goals
If you’re going to plan a trip to Mount Rushmore, for example, you don’t just hop in your car and start driving. There needs to be a little planning—what is the weather like, do they charge admission, how the heck do we get there? Of course, you could wing it and show up looking super cute for your Mount Rushmore selfie in a pair of shorts. But, it might be 30° out, you might not have enough money to pay for admissions, and you may turn a 3-hour trip into a 13-hour one.
When it comes to managing money, you need to know where you’re going and what you want to do. Start with setting three financial goals you’re going to make happen. Do you want to pay off all your debt in 2 years, have a 6-month emergency fund, or save for college? Write down the three goals you’re determined to make happen.
Just Go For It
Let’s say tomorrow is your “line-in-the-sand” day to change how you deal with money and you give up anything extra you enjoy like cable TV, cell phones, your car, or pizza. I’m sure there is a very small population that would excel with that scenario, but, for most of us, it would suck and therefore not last very long.
A better way would be to pick one of your goals and just go for it. If one of your dreams is to have an emergency fund, start taking small steps to make that happen. Put $5 a week into your savings account or save all your coin change for a month to put in savings. Don’t put it off and think “I’ll start next week”–just start doing something and then you can keep improving as you go.
Making a change to improve your managing money situation doesn’t have to begin with turning your life upside down and never spending a dime on anything. It can start small and build into a big positive money-life change.