A New Year A New Mindset
“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
― L.M. Montgomery – Author
Guest finance contributor Robin R. Haynes
The holiday season is over, and the New Year has started. Have you thought about restructuring your financial picture for the New Year? Do you have goals in place to become financially successful?
It is a new day, with a fresh start. In life we are often given second chances to get it right. The first step in becoming financially successful is to prepare yourself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Once you have prepared yourself in all aspects that have been mentioned, you then have to know where to start. If you don’t have a starting place with regards to understanding your finances – start from the beginning. It’s a new year with a new start, why not start from the beginning and move forward? The third step in becoming financially successful is to overcome financial failures. It’s OK to have fallen but when do you get up, brush your knees off and try again.
The answer to this question lies within. Figure out what financial behaviors have not worked for you in the past, and take a different approach. The next step in becoming financially successful is to take on the “I Can Do This Approach”. You have to come to a place in your life to have the mindset of wanting to become and do better with regards to understanding your financial picture. Once you have changed your mindset, your physical actions will change. No longer should you feel compelled to practice unhealthy financial behaviors (i.e. spending unnecessary money).
Now that you have the right tools and you know that it takes preparation to become financially successful, it is time to start setting attainable goals for yourself. Setting goals that you can achieve will allow you to feel some sort of accomplishment. Having a game plan to assist you in reaching your financial goals provides a visual outline for what needs to be done in order to reach these goals.
Your goal structure should be outlined as follows:
- Annually: What is it that you want to have accomplished financially by this time next year. Set a twelve month, long term financial goal.
- Example: I will save $1200 over the next 12 months.
- Quarterly: Realize that there are 4 quarters in a year. For each quarter set at least 2 specific and realistic goals.
- Example: I plan to save $300 during the first quarter of the year.
- Example: I plan to pay off half of one credit card during the second quarter of this year.
- Monthly: There are 3 months in every quarter. Each month, you should set one or two smaller but realistic goals. Although these goals are smaller, they will still help you to accomplish your larger goals – quarterly/annual/lifetime financial goal.
- Example: I plan to spend $30 per pay period towards one credit card.
- Example: I will place myself on a $30 cash only, spending diet for the month of January.
Notice that for each example provided, the goals are specific, realistic and time sensitive. If your goals are vague, unrealistic or are not associated with a specified time frame, you are not likely to accomplish the goal.
Remember it’s a New Year and it’s up to you to change your mindset.
Here’s to financial success in the New Year.
Making Sound Financial Decisions During the Holiday Season
Guest finance contributor Robin R. Haynes
As the holiday season fast approaches, we tend to lose focus on our finances. I want to take a moment to give a few pointers on good financial practices during this busy time of year. Here are a few tips that you will find most helpful as you navigate your way through the holidays:
Know your limits: During the holiday season we tend to lose sight of saving money. We have gotten so used to being festive that we forget we have to bounce back financially after we put away the holiday decorations. I suggest that you make two lists and make a budget for each list. Why two list you are probably asking? List one will be for the “gifts” that you have to purchase for various people. The second list will be for special foods to be purchased throughout the season for holiday parties that we all like to attend and bring a dish.
Don’t use your credit card to purchase gifts: Lack of funds will cause us to immediately use our credit cards. Believe it or not we are still in a financial strain, and using your credit card will create nothing more than a headache in the long run. You should use cash or your debit card to make purchases, using these methods will assist you in keeping track of your spending.
Did you know that on a credit card with a balance of $1000.00, with an interest rate of 21 percent and a minimum payment of $20.00 it will take TEN YEARS TO PAY OFF, and will accumulate interest of $1398.00? To recap on a balance of $1000.00, at the end you will be paying $2398.00 (that is the principle plus the interest). Ask yourself is it worth it? Please know that you should not rush out and spend a lot of unnecessary money during the holiday season. Spending time with family and friends should be the biggest present that you can give.
Making a list and checking it twice: As mentioned before during this season we tend to get caught up with the festivities of the season and want to purchase a present for EVERYONE just because. I suggest that you make your list, if need be revamp your list with emphasis on the important folks. Once this is done review the list and ask yourself, do I really need to purchase a gift for these people? A simple holiday card, wishing the joys of the holidays should be just fine…
Once you have made your lists and budgets, you then will have a clear sense of direction during this season. The holidays are fun, but can be very stressful. Knowing your limits and setting budgets for the various activities that will take place will decrease your stress level.
Enjoy your holiday season!
Robin R. Haynes is a Baltimore native and has been in the financial industry for 13 years. She understands the growing need for basic financial literacy to be taught so that it can be understood. Robin has a passion for helping others succeed financially not only by teaching the basics of finances, but making sure that there is a thorough understanding about financial concepts and how they are applied to everyday living.
Robin holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Accounting, from Morgan State University, she is the host of the "Understanding Finances Radio Broadcast" . Robin is currently working on "The Fundamentals of Finances Applied To Everyday Living" book which is scheduled to be released February 2013.
--source : http://www.understandingfinances.org/
photos courtesy of Robin R. Haynes